UPDATE: Lead Stories has rated this article false because “NASA did not warn two asteroids could cause atmospheric explosion over earth this week.”
(TMU) — As if 2020 weren’t overwhelming enough, in addition to the potential start of World War 3, the massive fires in Australia, the locust plague in the Middle East and Africa, and the novel coronavirus, we are now dealing with multiple asteroids hurtling towards Earth. One of the asteroids may even collide with Earth’s atmosphere resulting in an atmospheric explosion tonight!
Two asteroids following Earth’s intersecting orbit known as 2020 EF and 2020 DP4 are approaching the planet, and information collected by NASA indicates the space rocks are big enough to create violent explosions in the atmosphere if they come too close to the Earth.
The asteroids are being closely monitored by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
According to a report by IB Times, CNEOS estimates the 2020 EF asteroid has a diameter of 98 feet, making it a little longer than the distance between baseball diamond bases, with a velocity of 10,000 mph.
CNEOS sates that 2020 EF is what is known as an Aten asteroid, which means the object follows a normal orbit that crosses Earth’s path. NASA’s orbit diagram for 2020 EF shows the asteroid mimics a very wide orbit around the sun and almost follows the exact same path as Earth. The good news is NASA states in their diagram that the asteroid will have multiple near-approaches between 2020 EF and our planet—but it won’t hit us.
According to NASA, as a result of their size, 2020 EF will most likely not cause an impact event. Instead, it will break up into pieces if it enters Earth’s atmosphere. However, it could still cause a tiny explosion in the sky.
The last asteroid atmospheric explosion took place over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, which produced a flash 30 times brighter than the Sun and caused 180 cases of eye pain and 70 cases of temporary flash blindness.
So make sure you don’t stare at it with the naked eye, similar to how you shouldn’t stare directly at the sun, no matter how curious you may be.
2020 DP4 is coming our way and will cause a similar space spectacle this week on March 22nd at 2:36 p.m EST. Compared to 2020 EF, 2020 DP4 is much larger in diameter at 180 feet wide and traveling at a faster velocity rate at 18,000 mph according to CNEOS.
While 2020 EF is classified as an Aten asteroid, 2020 DP4 on the other hand belongs to the Apollo family of space rocks. Although the two asteroids are labeled differently, they are known to intersect Earth’s orbit as the planet makes its way around the Sun.
CNEOS states 2020 EF is expected to fly past the Earth from a distance of 0.04241 astronomical units or approximately 4 million miles. Meanwhile, 2020 DP4 will approach Earth from a much closer distance which according to CNEOS, is only 0.00901 astronomical units or around 840,000 miles.
While NASA has expressed that both asteroids won’t collide with the Earth, last year NASA and the U.S. government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) participated in an exercise with other international partners to deal with asteroids that could be a future impact danger. Last year, NASA also awarded SpaceX a $69 million contract to redirect an asteroid off its intended path under the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) program, which uses a technique known as a kinetic impactor. The mission involves sending one or more SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets into the path of an approaching near-earth object, in this case, Didymos’ small moon in October 2022.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is also involved in that joint mission to slam a probe into the asteroid Didymos’ small moon.
Next month a third asteroid is expected to come close to Earth called 52768 (1998 OR2). First spotted in 1998, the space rock much bigger than 2020 FE and 2020 DP4, at 1.1 – 2.5 miles wide, is expected to pass within around 4 million miles—or about 17 times the distance from Earth to the Moon, moving at a velocity of 19,461 miles per hour. CNEOS states that the third asteroid will fly by the Earth on April 29, at 4:56 a.m. EST.
According to CNN, NASA also reassures that 52768 (1998 OR2) will not hit the Earth despite worries with its classification as “potentially hazardous.” However, the asteroid is “large enough to cause global effects,” according to NASA.
The next potential asteroid that could cause significant damage if it hit Earth is expected to fly through our solar system and pass near Earth on April 13, 2029. The giant icy space rock—known as 99942 Apophis, for the Egyptian God of Chaos—is 1,100 feet wide (340 meters) and will speed by at over 67,000 miles per hour. According to NASA, Apophis has a 2.7% chance to hit Earth—a very low probability.
Thankfully we shouldn’t expect an Deep Impact scenario any time soon.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.