There have been several close calls with asteroids in history. One of them even impacted Earth and kicked off the extinction of the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. In a new development, NASA, with the help of its advanced ground and space-based telescopes, has revealed that an asteroid is expected to pass Earth today, December 5. According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, the space rock has been designated Asteroid 2023 WW. Know all about the asteroid’s close approach to Earth such as its speed, size, distance of approach, and more.
As per the details, Asteroid 2023 WW is expected to pass Earth at a distance of approximately 2.9 million kilometers. It is already travelling towards Earth in its orbit at 30672 kilometers per hour which is even faster than Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)!
This space rock belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, which are Earth-crossing space rocks with semi-major axes larger than Earth's. These asteroids are named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.
According to NASA, Asteroid 2023 WW has not passed Earth before and this will be its first-ever close approach. After today, it is not predicted to pass by the planet in the near future.
Asteroid 2023 WW is almost the size of an aircraft, with a width of nearly 130 feet. Despite this big size, it has not been classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object and is deemed non-threatening. However, it could change if the asteroid gets knocked off its course due to interaction with a planet’s gravitational field.
Due to such close calls, NASA, ESA, and other space agencies have developed technology to track asteroids in their orbits, and even deflect them in case a potential impact scenario develops.
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