NASA has issued a warning about an asteroid approaching Earth closely today. This is what the agency said.
We are only 20 days into September and we have already seen more than 20 asteroids pass very close to Earth. August witnessed nearly 35 asteroids come close to Earth, and it looks like September is on track to hit those numbers too. Yesterday 3 asteroids passed very close and today 2 more are on their way. NASA has issued a warning about an asteroid headed for Earth today.
Asteroid 2022 SR2 headed for Earth today, September 21
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued a warning about Asteroid 2022 SR2. The asteroid will make a close approach to Earth today, September 21, at a distance of just 449000 kilometers, making it one of the closest approaches to the asteroid we’ve had this month. For reference, the moon is nearly 384,400 kilometers from Earth, and asteroid 2022 SR2 is not far from it.
Asteroid 2022 SR2 was observed just 2 days ago on September 19, 2022 when it was discovered to be already on its way to Earth. The asteroid is hurtling toward the planet at a blistering speed of nearly 78,264 kilometers per hour, which is about 5 times faster than a hypersonic rocket.
It belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids orbiting the sun in the main asteroid belt near Jupiter. During this orbit, the farthest distance from the asteroid to the sun is 567 million kilometers, while the closest distance to the sun is only 86 million kilometers.
NASA’s Lucy Mission to Find Trojan Asteroids in the Solar System
NASA launched its Lucy spacecraft on October 16, 2021. This is NASA’s first space mission to study the Trojans, a group of asteroids that orbit the sun in two groups.
To achieve this goal, the Lucy spacecraft will have several precision instruments on board that will help study the asteroids and collect data. The instruments include an Imaging Spectral Array, an infrared imaging spectrometer to study the absorption lines for various silicates, ice and organics that may be on the surface of the Trojan asteroids, according to NASA.
Other instruments include a Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager to capture high-resolution images of the asteroids and a Thermal Emission Spectrometer to measure the surface temperature of the Trojan asteroids.