Asteroids approach our planet often, and sometimes they pass by incredibly close. At less than 2,000 miles, such a distance practically means like the tip of a nail for the vastness of the Universe. That’s the distance that separated Earth from a new asteroid dubbed 2021 UA1 that passed by this week undetected, according to the New York Post.
But there’s no use starting to yell that space agencies are useless. There’s also some good news, although nobody has seen the asteroid coming. The space rock was pretty small, about the same size as a wardrobe.
Passing by Antarctica at 1,800 miles
The asteroid passed by Antarctica at a close distance, and the space rock was measuring about 6.6 feet in its diameter, to be more precise.
Newly-discovered #asteroid 2021 UA1 missed Antarctica by only 3000 km Sunday evening.
It came from the daytime sky, so it was undiscoverable prior to closest approach.https://t.co/Y0zY7mAYue pic.twitter.com/R9VpMo2X9G
— Tony Dunn (@tony873004) October 27, 2021
But as 2021 UA1 couldn’t possibly be a danger to Earth, what would humanity do if the “real deal” of cosmic threats would visit us one day? One recent research is betting on the age-old method of shooting such an asteroid with powerful nukes and blowing it to pieces. Researchers are willing to count on what is known as small body disruption.
Patrick King from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland declared:
One of the challenges in assessing disruption is that you need to model all of the fragment orbits, which is generally far more complicated than modeling a simple deflection,
Nevertheless, we need to try to tackle these challenges if we want to assess disruption as a possible strategy.
The world sure needs more ingenious ideas for how to deal with a devastating asteroid, if it will ever come. Feel free to share your own ideas with us if you have any! The comment section is available for everyone to leave his and her own thoughts.