Asteroid 2022 PF will fly close past Earth tomorrow, August 9.
The latest asteroid to approach Earth, named Asteroid 2022 PF, is expected to miss Earth by just a few million miles. Notably, the Earth is being bombarded by asteroids as this is the third one to fly by our planet so closely in just a week. The asteroid is expected to pass Earth during the early hours of August 9, around 8:34am UT.
NASA keeps a check on all Near-Earth objects (NEOs) for any potential danger towards Earth. The Asteroid 2022 PF was discovered just a month ago, heading for Earth. The asteroid will pass Earth at a distance of nearly 9.4 million kilometers.
The Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are monitored by NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office which monitors the sky with telescopes and keeps a track of upcoming flybys. Keeping a track of these NEOs has become relatively easy with the advancement of technology. With the help of advanced telescopes, more than 750,000 asteroids have been discovered to date out of which over 27,000 are near-Earth asteroids.
This asteroid is nearly the size of a house. It is confirmed that it belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids which are Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) with perihelion distances less than 1.017 AU, and semi-major axis greater than 1 AU.
This is not the first time that an asteroid has passed Earth closely this year. On May 9, Asteroid Asteroid 467460 (2006 JF42), flew close past Earth. Then, on April 28, Asteroid 418135 (2008 AG33), passed by our planet. Just a couple of days ago, an Asteroid named Asteroid 2022 OX3 passed Earth in close proximity at 6:45pm on August 2. Another asteroid named Asteroid 2022 OC4 is expected to whizz past Earth on the same day.
Although you might wonder what would happen if any of them might actually hit Earth someday. Well, NASA has already made preparations for that. NASA is readying itself to potentially defend the planet against a very similar threat that is posed by asteroids. A NASA mission is in the works to deflect an asteroid off the collision course with Earth by smashing a spacecraft into it at a staggering speed of 23,000kph. The mission is named Double Asteroid Detection Test or DART.