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Five Asteroids Set To Fly Past Earth Today

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New Delhi: Five asteroids are set to make a close approach to Earth on January 6, according to the Central for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
Three of the asteroids are relatively small and pose a smaller threat to the planet if they were headed straight for it. However, the other two are bigger than the Eiffel Tower.
The bigger of the two, 2008 AF4, is nearly half a kilometre wide. If it were to crash into the planet, the resulting impact would be the equivalent of 25 megatons to 50 megatons, the same as the largest nuclear bombs in existence today.
While size certainly matters when it comes to determining whether or not an asteroid poses an imminent threat, it’s speed can greatly alter the level of risk.
All it would take is an asteroid that’s as big as a house travelling at 48,000 kilometres per hour to release as much energy as the Hiroshima bomb blast.
This means that even though Asteroid 2021 AJ is the smallest among those set to zoom by Earth on January 6, it’s still fast enough to obliterate an entire city if its trajectory changes.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), none of these asteroids — big or small — are an immediate threat. They are being tracked because they’re either closer to Earth than 7.5 million kilometres, which is 19.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon, or because they’re bigger than 150 metres.

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