Asteroid (Photo Credit: Pixabay.com)
A small asteroid identified as 2019 MO recently shot towards Earth at 14.9 kilometres per second and NASA had no idea about it, reported express.co.uk. Well, you would be shocked to hear that. Aren’t you? It is to be noted that asteroids (space rocks) are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. The space rocks approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. Asteroids can bring tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic.
Coming back to the asteroid 2019 MO, the space rock was just three metres wide and exploded when it hit the planet’s atmosphere on 22 July this year above the Caribbean. NASA said, “When first spotted, 2019 MO was about 310,000 miles (500,000 kilometers) from Earth - farther out than the orbit of our Moon. This was roughly the equivalent of spotting something the size of a gnat from a distance of 310 miles (500 kilometres).”
Davide Farnocchia, a scientist at NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object (NEO) Studies, said, “Asteroids this size are far smaller than what we’re tasked to track. They’re so small, they would not survive passing through our atmosphere to cause damage to Earth’s surface.”
The problem was, NASA said, the space agency could not determine where the space rock was heading. NASA said, “The body had been spotted only four times in just under half an hour, which was not enough information to determine where the object came from or exactly where it was headed.”
Last month, the European Space Agency (ESA) also had said that it too missed a NEO.
In August this year, asteroids identified as 2019 ON, 2006 QQ23, 454094 2013 BZ45, 2018 PN22, 2016 PD, 2002 JR100 and 2019 OU1 would have hit our planet. Lucky we are, as they all failed to hit our planet and we are safe. According to a report published by spacetelescope.org, there are more than 7 lakh asteroids that have been found in space. Asteroids are mainly found in an area called the ‘main belt’, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.