‘Potentially Hazardous’ Asteroid ‘Headed Toward Earth’ — Researchers Offer ‘What If’ Collision Scenario

When will it pass “terrifyingly close” to earth?

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It is railing through the heavens at 67,000 mph and Earth is very close to its path, which means that this incoming asteroid is “potentially hazardous,” according to NASA. This asteroid is the size of a skyscraper, a big skyscraper like the one in Dubai. This piece of space rock is.07 miles wide, which is.02 miles bigger than the famous skyscraper in Dubai that is called Burj Khalifa.

NASA has labeled the asteroid “potentially hazardous,” which is a warning label given to any asteroid coming within 4.6 million miles of Earth. Asteroid 2002 AJ129 is barreling toward Earth and it is expected to pass within 2.6 million miles of our planet or thereabouts. That’s not a lot of miles when considering the vastness of outer space and that is why the journey of this “giant asteroid is expected to narrowly miss our planet on February 4,” reports AJC.

According to BGR News, the asteroid is “headed toward Earth” but “will most likely not crash into our planet.” So why is the “potentially hazard” warning coming along with the space rock, which is due to whizz by Earth early next month? It is only because this asteroid is due to pass by at such a close proximity to this planet that NASA has labeled it “potentially hazardous.” NASA classifies any space object surpassing 459 feet wide and passing within 4,660,000 miles of Earth as ‘hazardous,'” according to a 2013 report on the NASA website.

So what if the worse case scenario did happen and for some improbable chance the calculations were off or for some unforeseen reason this asteroid moves off course a bit and it suddenly takes aim at Earth? NASA does have a plan to deflect any future asteroids on a collision course with Earth with a “refrigerator-sized” spacecraft that would change the speed of the asteroid putting it slightly off course. But that won’t be a feasible plan until somewhere around the year 2024.

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NASA is working on a system that entails a miniature spacecraft being deployed to a potentially harmful asteroid. It deflects the asteroid off its course by changing the speed of the space rock by less than an inch per second. That small change is all that is needed to move an incoming asteroid away from the planet’s path.

This is not a working model as of yet and it would entail moving that asteroid with this craft years in advance from its projected time of the collision. Asteroid AJ129 will be lapping at Earth’s doorstep in less than a month. According to NASA, they won’t have the technology in place to intercept an asteroid until sometime after the year 2024. With that said, NASA does not expect this asteroid to come in contact with the planet Earth.

According to BGR, if an asteroid the size of Asteroid AJ129 did happen to crash into Earth, “surviving the impact would not be pleasant.” Researchers report that an object that size colliding with the Earth would put the planet into a “mini ice age.” The average temperatures globally would drop by 8 degrees Celsius, with the Earth becoming a much “darker, colder, and dryer,” reports the Daily Mail.

The impact would cause soot and that soot would remain in the atmosphere for an entire decade. The dust caused by the asteroid’s collision would take six years to settle back down to Earth.