On Saturday, planet earth experienced a near-collision with a potentially killer asteroid named 2000 QW7. Even though the asteroid zipped past earth without any danger at almost 3.3 million miles away, some experts believe that the same asteroid may return in the future, and will unleash chaos in the planet.
As per current calculations, asteroid 2000 QW7 will not make another close approach with the earth until 2038. However, after 2038, there are possibilities that this asteroid will return, and hit the earth if it gets influenced by the gravitational keyhole.
Experts reveal that gravitational keyhole is an area in space where rogue space bodies like asteroids get affected by the gravitational pull of nearby planets. If 2000 QW7 passes through this gravitational keyhole in the future, then the chances of a potential collision will turn dramatically high.
Dr Rebecca Allen, a researcher at the Swinburne University of Technology reveals that a possible hit by an asteroid-like 2000 QW7 that measures more than 650 meters in size will generate energy between 30 to 50 megatons.
"These asteroids which are 100m in size are rarer than the ones we have been talking about recently which are tens of meters in size or even smaller. So something like this, if it was to impact the Earth, would be devastating because it would hit with a force of 30 to 50 megatons. That is the same force as modern nuclear weapons so we certainly wouldn't want it to come any closer than its current distance and thankfully it will pass us by," said Allen, Express.co.uk reports.
In order to combat events like these, NASA, the United States space agency is now busy developing a planetary defence weapon. To protect the planet, NASA is aiming to hit approaching rogue bodies using a large spacecraft, and they believe that it will deviate the space body from its collision trajectory.
However, SpaceX founder Elon Musk believes that no current technology is capable of protecting humans from potential asteroid hits.