Potential Hazardous Objects (PHO’s) and Near Earth Objects (NEO’s)
Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make a close approach to Earth on February 4th, at its closest the asteroid will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon approximately 4.2 million kilometers.
2002 AJ129 is an intermediate-sized near-Earth asteroid, somewhere between 0.5 km and 1.2 km acros, was discovered back in 2002, by the former NASA-sponsored Near Earth Asteroid Tracking project at the Maui Space Surveillance Site, Hawaii. The asteroid’s velocity at the time of closest approach, 34 km/s is higher than the majority of near-Earth objects. The high flyby velocity is a result of the asteroid’s orbit, which approaches very close to the Sun, at about 18 million km. Although asteroid 2002 AJ129 is categorized as a Potentially Hazardous Object, it poses no actual threat of collision!
The gigantic asteroid will hurtle past our planet in around two weeks time.
The 2002 AJ129 asteroid has been classed a ‘potentially hazardous’ by Nasa and will fly past at speeds of 107,826kmh.
Anything flying closer than six million miles of our planet is a near earth object (NEO) and could cause severe damage were it ever to crash into Earth.
Deflecting an asteroid on an impact course with Earth requires changing the velocity of the object by less than an inch per second years in advance of the predicted impact.
Nasa is currently moving forward with a refrigerator-sized spacecraft capable of preventing asteroids from colliding with Earth. A test with a small, nonthreatening asteroid is planned for 2024.
This is the first-ever mission to demonstrate an asteroid deflection technique for planetary defence.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) would use what is known as a kinetic impactor technique—striking the asteroid to shift its orbit.
Presently there are 17,495 known Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) around our planet; 17,389 are asteroids.