An asteroid bigger than the Taj Mahal is racing towards the Earth, said NASA. The asteroid named 1994 WRI2 is said to pass by our planet today, Monday, about 3.8 million miles away. The number 1994 depicts the year it was discovered by US astronomer Carolyn S. Shoemaker at Palomar Observatory (November 28, 1994).
The US space agency said that the asteroid that is going to pass by the earth is some 430 ft, is massive, and exhibits the potential to initiate cataclysmic damage on whatever it crashes into. The size of this asteroid is said to be double the size of the Big Ben clock in London. Or, you can also say that In another sense, the asteroid measure is of the same size and height as the Taj Mahal in India.
Moreover, if the asteroid crashes into the planet, it could produce 77 megabytes of TNT. The energy potential of this could be 1.5 times of the biggest nuclear weapon tested, Tsar Bomba. This nuclear weapon was exploded by Russia with 3,333 times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
NASA’s Asteroid Watch dashboard keeps tracking asteroids and comets that approach Earth. Currently, it is showing five major asteroids under watch.
Asteroid defense mission DART
NASA had launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft that will deliberately crash into an asteroid on November 24. This will be the test of technology to see if the crash can bring any changes in the motion of an asteroid in space.
The spacecraft target is the binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos and its moonlet and will pose no threat to Earth, the US space agency confirmed. “DART will be humanity’s first test for planetary defense — to see if we could change the course of an asteroid should we ever discover one headed toward Earth,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for the science mission directorate, in a blog post.