This week, an asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza will collide with Earth’s orbit.
The 520-foot space rock known as 2021 SM3 will come quite near to Earth just as NASA prepares to deploy its experimental DART asteroid deflector.
Next week, a massive asteroid 20 percent larger than Cairo’s Great Pyramid of Giza will make a close encounter to the Earth.
The 520-foot space rock was discovered this year and given the designation 2021 SM3 by astronomers.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has classed the object as a near-Earth object, or NEO.
Any asteroid or comet that comes within 120 million miles of Earth is classified as a near-Earth object (NEO).
These objects are of particular interest to astronomers because their routes through space could be disrupted by Earth’s gravity, making their future pathways unpredictable.
The closest approach of SM3 to Earth in 2021 will bring it within 3 million miles of the planet — further than the Moon, but much closer than “neighboring” planets like Venus (77 million miles) and Mars (a comparatively local 244 million miles).
2021 SM3 is a little bigger than the Great Pyramid, with a diameter of up to 520 feet, and any future Earth collision might be catastrophic.
As a result, 2021 SM3 meets the majority of the requirements for NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies to classify it as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (CNEOS).
Asteroids that are potentially hazardous are those that are larger than 450 feet diameter and have a path that gets them within 4.5 million miles of Earth.
However, current CNEOS observations rule out any impact from SM3 in 2021 for at least 100 years, by which time mankind should have developed the technology to deal with it.
This year, NASA is putting such a system to the test. The DART, or Double Asteroid Redirection Test, mission will be launched on one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicles from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on November 23.
DART will be directed to collide with Dimorphos, a 525-foot asteroid that orbits Didymos, a larger companion asteroid.
In September 2022, the half-mile monster asteroid Didymos will pass within 6.8 million miles of Earth. DART will collide with the asteroid’moon’ at a speed of roughly 15,000 mph during that close encounter.
If NASA’s calculations are true, the collision will slow Dimorphos by 1%.
Although this may not appear to be much, the experiment will teach scientists a lot about how to avoid disastrous asteroid collisions in the future.
“It is the Earth. The news is summarized by Brinkwire.