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Asteroid 2.3 Times The Size Of Dinosaur Heading For Earth - NASA


An asteroid almost two-and-a-half times the size of a dinosaur is set to have a close flyby with the Earth on Tuesday, according to NASA's asteroid tracker.

An asteroid is seen orbiting around Earth in this artistic rendering.

Which asteroid is coming towards Earth?

The asteroid in question has been designated 2022 PW and is currently heading in our direction.

The asteroid in question will pass by on August 16, 2022, as noted by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), specifically at the speed of 7.47 kilometers per second, which equates to 26,892 kilometers per hour. It also is roughly equal to nearly 22 times the speed of sound.

What is especially noteworthy about this asteroid heading near Earth, however, is the distance.

According to NASA's CNEOS, the asteroid 2022 PW is set to pass the Earth at a distance of approximately 529,000 kilometers.

To put that in perspective, the Moon on average orbits the Earth at a distance of around 384,000 kilometers.

This means that asteroid 2022 PW will be farther from the Earth than the Moon, but only slightly so. It will still be very close - especially on a cosmic scale.

How big is the asteroid coming towards Earth in 2022?

Luckily, not that big.

According to NASA's CNEOS, asteroid 2022 PW has an estimated diameter that could be as wide as 51 meters.

For context, the long-necked sauropod dinosaur known as Brachiosaurus is thought by scientists to have been as long as 22 meters, which is around 2.3 times smaller.

Will an asteroid hit Earth in 2022?

If it does, it won't be this one. And even if this asteroid impact did happen, it wouldn't be too bad, relatively speaking.

It is true that asteroids are one of the most dangerous possible natural disasters that could occur, as the sheer level of destruction they can bring is nigh unparalleled and humanity has yet to develop a fully adequate means of defense against them.

According to research from the Davidson Institute of Science, the educational arm of Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, an asteroid over 140 meters in diameter would release an amount of energy at least a thousand times greater than that released by the first atomic bomb if it impacted Earth.

Something even larger – over 300 meters wide like the Apophis asteroid – could destroy an entire continent. An asteroid over a kilometer in width – like asteroid 138971 (2001 CB21), which flew past the Earth in early March 2022 – could trigger a worldwide cataclysm.

But at this size, asteroid 2022 PW will likely not cause much damage if it impacts. It will likely cause a large and loud explosion upon atmospheric entry, but any actual damage would be minimal, at best.

In other words, while asteroid 2022 PW may be measured in terms of dinosaurs, it won't be anywhere near as massive as the asteroid that actually managed to kill all of the dinosaurs.

But as for if an asteroid will impact the Earth in 2022, the answer is undoubted yes. Or rather, yes, it already happened.

In mid-March, the small asteroid 2022 EB5, which was around half the size of a giraffe, actually hit the Earth - though it caused no damage.

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