Asteroid: Expert explains how ‘Earth defence simulations’ work

A space rock designated the title 468727 (2010 JE87) is currently on its way through the solar system. The monster space rock is a whopping 257 metres in length, making it longer than two football pitches length to length.

NASA has revealed the asteroid is moving through the solar system at a staggering 14.9 kilometres per second, or 53,640 kilometres per hour.

The asteroid is set to swing by our planet tomorrow, January 25.

When it does, it will be 15.8 times the distance between our planet and the Moon from us.

One distance between the two celestial bodies, called a lunar distance (LD), is 384,317 kilometres.

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NASA has revealed the asteroid is moving through the solar system at a staggering 14.9 kilometres per second, or 53,640 kilometres per hour.

The asteroid is set to swing by our planet tomorrow, January 25.

When it does, it will be 15.8 times the distance between our planet and the Moon from us.

One distance between the two celestial bodies, called a lunar distance (LD), is 384,317 kilometres.

So 15.8 LDs is more than 6 million kilometres.

Nonetheless, NASA has described the asteroid as a ‘Near Earth Object’ (NEO), which allows NASA to study the history of the solar system.

NASA said on its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) website: “NEOs are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.

“The scientific interest in comets and asteroids is due largely to their status as the relatively unchanged remnant debris from the solar system formation process some 4.6 billion years ago.

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There are several unknown factors which could influence the future path of the asteroid, including the gravitational pull of other celestial bodies in the solar system.

NASA said: “Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth.

“Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of 0.05 au or less are considered PHAs.”

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