AN ASTEROID bigger than the Empire State Building is predicted to glide by Earth on Sunday.
Although Asteroid 388945 should pass us from a distance of about 3.5million miles away, it is still considered a possible threat.
If an asteroid comes within 4.65million miles of our planet and is over a certain size, it's considered "potentially hazardous" by cautious space agencies.
Read our Asteroid 388945 2008 TZ3 live blog for the latest news and updates…
How large is Asteroid 388945?
The asteroid is the biggest of five that will approach Earth between Friday and Monday.
The asteroid is estimated to be between 220 and 490 meters long by NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). The Empire State Building is approximately 443 meters (1,453 ft) tall.
The search for alien life
Launched four years ago, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a space telescope designed to search for undiscovered worlds.
It’s searching an area of sky 400 times larger than that covered by the Kepler mission, in a bid to find candidates that could host alien life.
Asteroid mining and NFTs?
Exploration Laboratories LLC, or ExLabs, an asteroid mining corporation, seeks to employ NFTs to explore space and mine asteroids, according to NFTEvening.com.
There is not much information, according to the website, but there will be more available soon regarding the cost of the NFTs and any official dates.
Dust cloud forms due to colliding asteroids
The catastrophic scene left behind by a cosmic collision was discovered by data from a decommissioned NASA satellite telescope, according to Space.com.
The magnitude of a debris cloud observed by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows that the dust was produced when two dwarf planet-sized particles collided a few hundred light-years away.
Did asteroids bring water to Earth? continued
As Space.com reports, according to Nasa’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), “It seems possible that the origin of life on the Earth’s surface could have been first prevented by an enormous flux of impacting comets and asteroids, then a much less intense rain of comets may have deposited the very materials that allowed life to form some 3.5 – 3.8 billion years ago.”
Did asteroids bring water to Earth?
Collisions that could kill people could be the reason we’re still alive today. Earth was parched and desolate when it was formed, according to Space.com.
Collisions between asteroids and comets may have brought water ice and other carbon-based chemicals to the planet, allowing life to emerge.
At the same time, the frequent collisions made it impossible for life to survive until the solar system stabilized.
Later collisions determined which species survived and which died.
Mining asteroids: Is it possible?
The prospect of collecting minerals from asteroids has piqued the interest of NASA, other space organizations, and commercial firms alike, according to Space.com.
One often touted resource that some are interested in harvesting from asteroids and the moon is water, which may be turned into rocket propellant to prevent spaceships from having to launch the weight of their return fuel.
Some people are also interested in extracting metals from asteroids, claiming that the asteroid belt holds enormous financial potential.
Others argue that making this strategy financially sustainable is more challenging.
What are Trojan asteroids?
These asteroids are in the same orbit as a bigger planet, but they don’t crash because they congregate around two specific spots – L4 and L5 Lagrangian points – in the orbit.
The Sun’s and the planet’s gravitational pulls are counterbalanced by a trojan’s proclivity to fly out of orbit.
The Jupiter trojans are the most numerous of the trojan asteroids.
They are estimated to be as abundant as asteroids in the asteroid belt.
There are trojans on Mars and Neptune, and in 2011, NASA reported the finding of an Earth trojan.
What is the Main Asteroid Belt?
The bulk of known asteroids orbits between Mars and Jupiter in the asteroid belt, with relatively short orbits.
There are between 1.1 and 1.9million asteroids bigger than one kilometer (0.6 miles) in diameter in the belt, as well as millions of smaller ones.
The gravity of freshly created Jupiter stopped the development of planetary bodies in this region early in the solar system’s existence, causing the tiny things to smash with one another, fragmenting them into the asteroids we see today.
Types of asteroids: M-types
The M-type asteroids (nickel-iron) are made of metal. The compositional variations between asteroids are linked to how distant they originated from the Sun.
After they formed and partially melted, some endured tremendous temperatures, with iron sinking to the center and driving basaltic (volcanic) lava to the surface.
Types of asteroids: S-types
S-type (stony) asteroids are made up of nickel-iron silicate minerals.
Types of asteroids: C-Type
C-Type (chondrite) are the most common asteroids. They are most likely made up of clay and silicate rocks and have a black look. They are among the solar system’s oldest ancient things.
Even small asteroids can be dangerous, continued
Around 1,600 people were injured when that asteroid exploded, mostly as a result of broken glass from windows, according to NASA as cited by Newsweek.
The agency’s planetary defense officer Lindley Johnson said it was a “cosmic wake-up call.”
Even small asteroids can be dangerous
In February 2013, an asteroid that NASA previously described as “house-sized,” so relatively small next to Asteroid 2015 DR215, exploded in the skies, Newsweek noted.
It exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk after it entered Earth’s atmosphere at around 40,000 miles per hour, and released a shock wave that obliterated windows over 200 square miles when it exploded.
Asteroid mystery solved, continued
The new theory involves the comet losing its ice content in a way that could have ended up with it having the “unique characteristics” it does.
Lead author Miura told Newsweek: “Depending on whether Ryugu was originally an asteroid or a comet, it experienced a very different environment.”
“Asteroids formed in warm regions relatively close to the sun. On the other hand, comets formed in a cooler environment away from the sun.”
“To assume off the top of one’s head that Ryugu was originally an asteroid is to overlook the possibility that Ryugu may have been in a cold environment.”
Asteroid mystery solved?
Researchers may have “solved mysteries surrounding the origins of the spinning top-shaped asteroid Ryugu,” Newsweek reported.
In fact, it may actually be the remnants of a dead comet.
Space mission Hayabusa2 returned samples and images from the space rock Asteroid 162173, also known as Ryugu, in 2020.
It is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Objects Studies.
Data from that mission showed that the asteroid has a “spinning top shape,” and that it is “a loose pile of gravitationally bound rubble” with plentiful organic material.
What is an exoplanet?
Exoplanets are planets outside of our Solar System. Thousands have been discovered since the 1980s.
In addition to being possible locations of extraterrestrial life, they provide opportunities to better understand the evolution of the universe.
According to Nasa’s exoplanet database, of the ten exoplanets found this year, six are larger than Jupiter.
What would happen if an asteroid hit Earth?
Depending on the size of the space rock, an asteroid impact on the Earth could be an extinction-level event, and researchers have created simulations to see just how bad it could be.
Not all asteroids would mean the end of humanity and, in fact, a space rock would have to be pretty large to kill us all.
If an asteroid the size of the one that likely killed the dinosaurs hit Earth today, things would instantly change due to the force of the impact and its knock-on effect on the environment.
Largest asteroids: Interamnia
Interamnia has a diameter of 217.5 miles and circles the sun once every 1,950 days, or 5.34 years.
Because of its distance from Earth, it is not believed feasible to investigate Interamnia.
Largest asteroids: Hygeia
With a diameter of 270 miles, Hygiea is ranked fourth-largest.
It is a large asteroid in the main belt, but due to its almost spherical form, it may soon be classified as a dwarf planet.
It will be the tiniest dwarf planet in our solar system if it achieves this status.
The asteroid was discovered in 1849 by astronomer Annibale de Gasparis.
Hygiea’s orbit does not bring it close to Earth, hence it is not considered potentially dangerous.
Largest asteroids: Pallas
It has a diameter of around 318 miles and accounts for about 7 percent of the asteroid belt’s total mass.
Pallas’ orbit, unlike those of other asteroids, is severely inclined at 34.8 degrees, making it difficult to analyze.
Largest asteroids: Vesta
Vesta is the second-largest asteroid in the main asteroid belt and the biggest official asteroid.
Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers discovered it in 1807.
Vesta has a diameter of 329 miles and makes up nearly 9 percent of the total mass of all asteroids.
Vesta, like Earth, is spherical and has three layers: crust, mantle, and core.
Largest asteroids: Ceres
Ceres is the biggest asteroid in the belt between Mars and Jupiter and was the first found in 1801, even thought to be a planet at the time.
In the 1850s, it was categorized as an asteroid, but in 2006, it was reclassified as a dwarf planet.
While it is no longer classified as an asteroid, it claims the top rank with a diameter of 580 miles.
Ceres is named after the Roman goddess of corn and harvests, and the term cereal comes from the same root.
Ceres took 1,682 Earth days, or 4.6 years, to complete one round around the sun.
Every nine hours, it completes one rotation around its axis.
Largest known asteroids
The largest asteroids in our solar system are chunks of space debris that have shaped the space around them.
This is a list of six of the largest known asteroids:
- Ceres (583.7 miles/ 939.4 kilometers)
- Vesta (326 miles/ 525 kilometers)
- Pallas (318 miles/ 513 kilometers)
- Hygiea (270 miles/ 444 kilometers)
- Interamnia (196.7 miles/ 306 kilometers)
- 52 Europa (188.9 miles/ 306 kilometers)
What is a meteorite?
If a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it begins to vaporize and becomes a meteor.
On Earth, it’ll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up, and it may look like a fireball or “shooting star.”
If a meteoroid doesn’t vaporize completely and survives the trip through Earth’s atmosphere, however, it can land on Earth and becomes a meteorite.