Asteroid 2019 QU4, an Apollo type rocky object which has been ranked as a Near-Earth Object (NEO) will appear closest to Earth at around 4:17 am IST today. Asteroid QU4 is an Apollo-type rocky object barrelling around the Sun on a trajectory similar to Asteroid 1862 Apollo. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California determined the risk of QU4 crossing paths with Earth, the Express reported.
According to a Space Telecope report, there are more than 7 lakh asteroids that have been found in space. It further added that asteroids are mainly found in an area called the ‘main belt’, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, has already warned that a massive asteroid will hit Earth and space agencies will not be able to do anything about it.
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"Great name! Wouldn’t worry about this particular one, but a big rock will hit Earth eventually & we currently have no defense," Musk tweeted while responding to a news on the NASA is preparing for the ‘colossal God of Chaos’ asteroid.
Another asteroid will fly-by Earth on September 14 is 2010 CO1. The space rock is 260 metres wide and 120 metres long and is traveling at a staggering speed of about 51,696 kmph. Asteroid 2010 CO1 was first spotted on January 31, 2010. However, this asteroid has been classified by NASA as an Apollo Asteroid, as it is a Near-Earth Asteroid with very wide orbit with a perihelion distance less than 1.017 AU, and semi-major axis greater than 1 AU.
In 2016, a NASA scientist warned that the Earth is unprepared for such an event. In April 2018, the B612 Foundation reported "It's 100 per cent certain we'll be hit [by a devastating asteroid], but we're not 100 per cent sure when." Also, in 2018, physicist Stephen Hawking, in his final book Brief Answers to the Big Questions, considered an asteroid collision to be the biggest threat to the planet.
Asteroid impact avoidance comprises a number of methods by which near-Earth objects (NEO) could be diverted, preventing destructive impact events. A sufficiently large impact by an asteroid or other NEOs would cause, depending on its impact location, massive tsunamis, multiple firestorms and an impact winter caused by the sunlight-blocking effect of placing large quantities of pulverized rock dust, and other debris, into the stratosphere.
According to expert testimony in the United States Congress in 2013, NASA would require at least five years of preparation before a mission to intercept an asteroid could be launched.