A Massive Asteroid That Could Probably Destroy The Earth Is Doing A Close Flyby

If you have any last wishes, now’s the time to use them cause Asteroid 2016 AJ193 is about to pay a “close” visit to Earth this weekend.

Asteroid 2016 AJ193, which was first spotted by Haleakala Observatory’s Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) facility in 2016 (hence the name), is reported to fly by our planet this Saturday at a distance of 2.1 million miles which is approximately 8.9 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. While that doesn’t really seem like too close of an encounter, it has officially been classified as “potentially hazardous” since it’s one of the closest approaches for several decades. *chuckles* We’re in danger (not really…right?)

When talking about the size of the asteroid, it is believed to be around 4800 feet wide and has been compared to the length of three Empire State Buildings or four Eiffel Towers! The point is, its size is remarkable! Not only the size but the speed with which the asteroid is flying through space is quite impressive too at a 58,000 mph velocity or 16 miles per second! Of course, when an astronomical body from outer space of this magnitude and speed passes by our planet, the researchers are going to have a field trip. By using radar technology, energy pulses are going to be sent out into outer space which would be used to calculate the shape and spin of the asteroid when its closest to the Earth.

But another question that arises is what would happen if an asteroid or other object from space decided to make its way towards our planet, would we be able to use a spaceship to deflect its course or would we be screwed altogether? To answer that question, it seems like NASA is working on a project called DART : Double Asteroid Redirection Test whose goal is to see if kinetic impactor technology would work in that scenario since asteroid detection and deflection is a crucial task and we wouldn’t want to be caught off-guard if an asteroid decides to pay us a visit.  

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