Asteroids according to research, are small rocky space objects that orbit the sun. Their sizes ranges from 1,000 kilometers across, the same size of the popular Ceres, to a dust size particles found in asteroid belts.
They pass by near Earth from time to time and those particles that separate from them and enter the planet’s atmosphere are called meteorites.
This is the space phenomenon that happened yesterday. It’s about an asteroid hurtling close by Earth at a very high speed while towing its own moon, according to NASA.
Using NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, the initial radar pictures of the asteroid named 2004 BL86, revealed that its main structure is about 325 meters across and has a small moon around 70 meters across. That’s approximately 21.5 percent of the volume of the asteroid.
The encounter is said to be the closest by any asteroid in the following 200 years. The next asteroid to pass by our planet in 2027, dubbed 1999 AN10, will be of the same size as 2004 BL86.
About 16 percent of asteroids that pass by a planet as big as Earth, are about 200 meters or larger. They are either called binary which means the asteroid has one moon, or a triple system, which means the asteroid has 2 moons.
NASA is planning to send a robotic probe in 2016, to perhaps one of the most dangerous near-Earth objects or NEOs that the Earth will ever encounter.
The probe OSIRIS-REx purpose is to do some reconnaissance mission to asteroid (101955) Bennu. It will also be a pioneering effort for the future spacecrafts’ that will perform similar missions on any incoming threatening objects.
The movies Armageddon and Space Cowboys were two of the most popular ever yet to hit the silver screen about asteroids endangering planet Earth. Although they are highly dramatized, the events depicted there were close to reality but it won’t be entertaining in real life.