- Asteroid 2021 SG will have been detected by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Surveyor Space Telescope, agency insists
- The space rock flew past Earth on September 16 at a distance of 153,000 miles and was not detected until September 17
- Its diameter is between 138 and 308 feet, larger than a football field and roughly the size of the State of Liberty.
- NEO Surveyor spacecraft to launch in 2026
NASA has insisted that asteroid 2021 SG, which flew past Earth on Sept. 16, will have been spotted by an upcoming telescope used to detect such dangerous space rocks.
Known as the Near-Earth Object Surveyor Space Telescope (NEO Surveyor), the craft will ‘probably’ have spotted the asteroid on a different part of its orbit and earlier in its trajectory toward Earth, said the director of NASA’s Center for Near Paul Chodas- Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) told DailyMail.com.
Asteroid 2021 SG passed near Earth on September 16 at a distance of 153,000 miles, about half the distance from the Moon. It was not detected until 17 September.
The diameter of this space rock is between 138 and 308 feet, or larger than a football field and roughly the same size as the State of Liberty.
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“Due to its greater sensitivity on current asteroid surveys, the NEO surveyor may have detected this asteroid on a different part of the asteroid’s orbit, when the asteroid was farther away from the Sun,” Chodas said in an email.
Asteroid 2021 SG will have been detected by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Surveyor Space Telescope, agency insists
Asteroid 2021 SG measures between 138 and 308 feet in diameter, is larger than a football field and roughly the size of the State of Liberty
According to NASA, there are over 26,000 near-Earth asteroids, although only 10,000 of them are larger than 140 meters in size.
There are over 26,000 near-Earth asteroids, according to NASA, although only about 10,000 of them are larger than 140 m (450 ft) in size.
Although it passed Earth to within 0.05 astronomical units (AU), asteroid 2021 SG is smaller than 460 feet in diameter, which is needed to be considered ‘potentially hazardous’. NASA.
However, it is four times larger than the space rock that shattered on February 15, 2013, over Chelyabinsk, Russia.
That rock resulted in the injuries of 1,500 people and a shock wave that shattered windows in six Russian cities.
Initially the asteroid was not detected because it follows a ‘very eccentric orbit’ that extends from the orbit of Mercury into the asteroid belt before the orbit of Mars.
Chodas said 2021 SG was not initially detected because it follows a ‘very eccentric orbit’ that extends from the orbit of Mercury into the asteroid belt before the orbit of Mars.
“It has been at the outer edge of its orbit over the past few months and it approached Earth from the Sun’s general direction last week,” Chodas said.
‘As soon as it approached the Earth, this asteroid was located in the daytime sky. Once it passed, however, it converged in the night sky, became readily visible to our asteroid surveys, and was immediately detected.’
Asteroid 2021 SG was also flying past Earth at more than 53,000mph, . According to EarthSky.org.
If it had entered Earth’s atmosphere, it would have produced a ‘huge, very impressive meteor’, the organization said, adding its closest approach was for Canada and Greenland.
Subsequently, if it entered the atmosphere, it could result in significant destruction, given that Canada has a population of over 37 million.
The NEO Surveyor spacecraft is scheduled to launch in 2026.
It will be located between Earth and the Sun among better-placed space rocks – such as 2021 SG – that cannot yet be seen due to their position in space.
Astronomers are hunting down asteroids larger than 450 feet because they could cause ‘catastrophic damage’
Researchers have discovered most asteroids that are about a kilometer in size, but are now looking for ones that are about 459 feet (140 meters) across – because they can cause catastrophic damage.
Although no one knows when the next major impact will occur, scientists have found themselves under pressure to predict and prevent its arrival.
painted artist’s impression
“Sooner or later we will find … a minor or major impact,” said Rolf Densing, head of the European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt.
It may not happen in our lifetime, he said, but ‘the risk of a catastrophic event one day hitting Earth is very high.’
‘For now, we can do very little.’