Several top space experts including popular American physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson had previously warned that the end of the earth could happen due to a deadly asteroid hit that may happen in the future. As fears surrounding threats from space loom up, NASA, the United States space agency is now busy tracking near-earth objects that could potentially turn dangerous in the future.
Small yet dangerous asteroid approaching earth?
On November 25, 2019, NASA spotted an asteroid that measures 46 to 78 feet across that is apparently heading towards earth. As per the current analysis, the space rock is screeching across space at a mindblowing speed of 22,600 miles per hour. NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) reveals that this space rock named 2019 WH2 will move past the planet from a distance of 0.00873 astronomical units (AU).
It should be noted that one astronomical unit equals about 92.95 million miles, which is actually the distance between the earth and the sun. Asteroid 2019 WH2 is expected to fly past the earth at a distance of 1.3 million kilometers.
However, several factors including the much crucial gravitational keyhole will change the current trajectory of this asteroid. A gravitational keyhole is an area in space where space rocks get affected by the gravitational pull of planets. If this happens in the case of asteroid WH2 close flyby, then the chances of a mid-air explosion will be quite high.
Planetary defense weapon holds the key to survival
In order to protect the planet from possible asteroid hits, NASA, in collaboration with private space companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX is busy developing a planetary defense weapon aimed at changing the trajectory of approaching space bodies.
However, a section of space experts claims that this way of nudging the asteroids away from the earth will not work, especially if the space rock is big. As per these experts, a pre-emptive nuclear strike is the best option to protect the earth from dangerous doomsday asteroids.