Apparently, an asteroid bigger than the Eiffel Tower is hurtling towards Earth, because we are clearly re-entering our Cretaceous Era.
Also, not sure why we’re measuring our asteroids in Eiffel Towers, but there’s a reason I don’t run NASA. However, if you prefer to measure things via the metric season, the asteroid is clocking in at around 330 metres. It’s has been named 4660 Nereus, which is really giving Grimes and Elon Musk if they reunited to produce a second child.
While NASA is expecting the asteroid to pass 7.4 million kilometres away from Earth, they’ve stilled labelled it as “potentially hazardous”, which does not ease my apocalypse-related anxieties.
According to NASA, a potentially hazardous asteroid is “about 150 meters or larger, roughly twice as big as the Statue of Liberty is tall. They approach Earth’s orbit to within 7.5 million kilometers. By comparison, when Mars and Earth are at their closest, they are about 53 million kilometers apart.”
The reason why that’s of concern is because the gravitational pull of the planet could ultimately lead to the asteroid’s orbital path evolving into one that crosses the Earth in the future.
More science facts!
However, that is a problem for the cryogenically frozen me of 3008.
This particular asteroid was first spotted in 1982 – while ‘Eye of the Tiger’ was topping the charts – by an American astronomer called Eleanor F. Helin. It’s been predicted to pass by us on around December 11.
If all of this has ignited a new fear of asteroids in you, or if you were a Dinosaur Kid, NASA is actually experimenting with a plan to deal with any future apocalyptic asteroids.
On November 24, it partnered with Musk’s SpaceX to launch a rocket into space which will hopefully collide with an asteroid and change its orbit.
The tech is called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) and it’s targeting an asteroid called Dimorphos, which orbits a different, kilometre-wide asteroid called 65803 Didymos.
Asteroid Dimorphos: we're coming for you!— NASA (@NASA) November 24, 2021
Riding a @SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, our #DARTMission blasted off at 1:21am EST (06:21 UTC), launching the world's first mission to test asteroid-deflecting technology. pic.twitter.com/FRj1hMyzgH
If the mission is successful, it could give scientists a way to alter the orbit of any future Earth-killing space rocks and stop them from colliding with the planet, which I would personally consider a win.
While Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis did a great job in Armageddon, it’s probably best if that stays fictional.