Co-incidences are like an epiphany. They arise in an instance to remind us that specific actions can never be scientifically linked. Before the announcement of the European Space Agency’s Ariel 2029 Mission, an asteroid passed near the Earth. It was almost 400 km away from our planet, just above the South Pacific Ocean. It is less than the distance of the LEO satellites. It becomes essential to understand the why, how, and when of this incident.
What are Asteroids?
They are metallic or rocky objects that orbit around the Sun. They are small in size and cannot be considered planets. So, they are also called planetoids. They are the fragments left-over from the creation of our Solar System. Most of the Asteroids lie in an Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids are cooler objects, with a surface temperature being less than -100 degrees Fahrenheit. As per the current data of NASA, there are 1026969 well-known asteroids. Some of the missions working towards exploring asteroids are OSIRIS-Rex, Hayabusa2, PROCYON, Dawn, etc.
Who found the Asteroid near the Earth?
NASA found the Asteroid near the Earth through their ATLAS after 15 hours of its passing the Earth. The ATLAS is Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System. Consisting of two telescopes at 100 miles apart, it scans the movement of objects every night. Any new Asteroid observed near the Earth by the ATLAS goes for the Minor Planet Center report. It is the 535th Near-Earth Asteroid object observed using ATLAS. The name designated to the Asteroid is 2020 VT4. It was traveling at a speed of around 48000 km/h. Earlier this year, Asteroid 2020 QG Flew passed near the Earth. The distance of that Asteroid (2020 QG Flew) from the Earth was around 3000 km. Another asteroid, named 2020 JJ, passed from 7000 km in May 2020.
Facts related to 2020 VT4
The news came out from the tweet of Tony Dunn. At the start, scientists gave it the name A10sHcN. Earlier, astronomers said that it is an Apollo-type asteroid. So, it completes a revolution around the Sun every one and a half year. But, due to Earth’s gravitational pull, the trajectory of the object got disturbed. This disturbance shortened the time of the revolution to 10 months. Now, it is an Aten-type asteroid. As per the estimates, the diameter of 2020 VT4 is around 5 to 10m. Thus, any impact on Earth would have been meager and might have left strewn fields because of its size. According to NASA, the 2020 VT4 is not potentially hazardous. It is because the Potentially Hazardous NEOs should be more than 460 feet in diameter.
The advancement in Space Technology helps to identify, detect, and monitor asteroids. The proximity of the 2020 VT4 could have been the issue, but the size would have made a rare impact on Earth. The event seeks more intervention to detect asteroids’ early movement or other galactic objects near the Earth.