Most of the time, people don’t stop to consider the many different objects that are flying throughout outer space, as well as the risk which they can have for us here on the planet until the day comes that one of them is just a little too close for any comfort. It is what really occurs with the news from recently about the asteroid which is expected to come startlingly close this Boxing Day.
According to the NASA officials, the asteroid which they called 2018 XE4 is, in fact, a hunk of space rock that hurtles through the solar system. Now, to simply exist is not that big deal. There are a lot of asteroids out there in the solar system that there even exists a ‘main asteroid belt’ which is located between the planets Jupiter and Mars.
This belt is estimated to include around 1.1 to 1.9 million asteroids. Outside of it, there are countless other asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet or also establish their orbit.
A lot of the asteroids in the space are going to come nowhere close to the planet Earth, but there are estimated to be more than 10,000 ‘near-earth asteroids’ which means that the orbit of those asteroids crosses the orbit of our planet. Hence it could pose a threat to the Earth one day.
However, the good news is that the atmosphere of the planet Earth works much better, in that way preventing most asteroids from ever making through to the planet’s surface. When they enter the atmosphere, most of them are disintegrated without the general population even knowing that it occurred.
But, those that are fairly large can probably make it through that barrier, and they are those asteroids which have a lot of scientists, astronomers or even ordinary people concerned.
The course for 2018 XE4 from now does not really lay out a direct effect with our planet, so experts advise that every one of us can expect that everything is going to finish our leftovers from Christmas on Boxing Day in peace. But, the orbital diagram which NASA released, in fact, reveals just how close the asteroid is going to miss the planet by 1.2 million miles.
Although this probably sounds like an important difference, it is anything, but when you are considering the large scale of the planets, as well as the solar system as a whole. Because of that, the term ‘near-earth object’ is applied to objects which travel within 30 million miles of the orbit of our planet.
There is an additional shocking statistics about the speed at which the asteroid is going to move. Because it passes by the atmosphere of our planet, it has been estimated to actually reach speeds of more than 20,900 miles per one hour.
Even though to put that in perspective, NORAD predicted that Santa would need to travel at more than 180,000 miles per one hour so to make his journey around the world, which does not sound that impressive, right?
The news about the asteroid 2018 XE4 led a lot of people to question where we are standing currently in our efforts of establishing reliable technology which is going to allow us to withstand an asteroid strike in the near future. After all, our planet cannot always be lucky as it is right now. Of course, with the advances of contemporary science, we could have the ability to invent something which is going to save our planet from mass destruction.
In 2018, NASA has released its new plan about tracking, identifying, as well as destroying asteroids before they strike our planet. One report which was titled ‘National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan’ actually outlines a 10-year plan in order to prepare the country for the possible risk of such events.