Asteroid '2021 SM3', larger than Great Pyramid of Giza, to cross Earth on October 14
The asteroid has a diameter ranging from 72 to 160 metres, making it more prominent than the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
A comic object is to cross paths with Earth 48 hours before NASA plans to launch the Lucy mission to investigate asteroid clusters surrounding Jupiter. Asteroid 2021 SM3, larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza, will pass over Earth on October 14 as part of its path. Asteroid 2021 SM3 will travel by Earth at a distance of 12.81 Lundar Distance, according to the most recent data from NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (average distance between the Earth and Moon). The asteroid has a diameter ranging from 72 to 160 metres, making it more prominent than the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
The asteroid is racing through space at a dizzying 56,916 kilometres per hour and will pass the Earth on Friday. NASA has classed the flying object as a near-Earth object, although it poses no imminent threat to the Earth. Asteroids are rocky debris left behind from the solar system's creation around 4.6 billion years ago. An asteroid is classed as a near-Earth object if its distance from our planet is less than 1.3 times the distance from Earth to the Sun, according to the Nasa Joint Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which studies asteroid movement (the Earth-Sun distance is about 93 million miles).
Asteroids have become the focus of interest in recent months, as humans intend to study them and collect samples and return them to Earth. Meanwhile, NASA wants to delay a spaceship by crashing it with an asteroid. A defence system capable of deflecting possible asteroids coming towards Earth in the future, Didymos is the mission's target asteroid. It will serve as a testbed for planetary defence-driven technology aimed at avoiding an asteroid collision.
The spacecraft will be equipped with a set of onboard cameras and advanced autonomous navigation algorithms to monitor the progress of the mission. Engineers hope that the impact will slow the moonlet's orbit around the parent body by a fraction of a per cent. Since 1968, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has tracked over 1000 Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA). Over half of these asteroids were discovered using the telescope at Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory before being damaged and destroyed in 2020.