120-foot asteroid 2023 JS4 rushing towards Earth, NASA's NEOWISE spacecraft warns

A 120-foot asteroid is on its way to make a close approach to Earth. Here’s what NASA said.

| Updated on: May 18 2023, 16:39 IST
From 23 feet to 230 feet, 5 asteroids tracked by NASA hurtling towards Earth
1/6 Asteroid 2023 JT4 – Asteroid 2023 JT4, with a width of just 23 feet, will be making its closest Earth approach today, May 18. It will come as close as 1.9 million kilometers, according to NASA. The asteroid is moving at a breakneck speed of 11490 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 JW3
2/6 Asteroid 2023 JW3 – Another asteroid, named Asteroid 2023 JW3 is heading for Earth and will make a close approach today, May 18. This asteroid, with a size of approximately 83 feet, is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 29185 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth by a distance of 3.2 million kilometers.  (Pixabay)
3/6 Asteroid 2023 JS4 – Asteroid 2023 JS4, which is almost 200 feet wide, is heading for Earth and will make a close approach today, May 18. This asteroid is heading towards Earth at a blistering speed of 49682 kilometers per hour and will miss Earth by a distance of 6.2 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
4/6 Asteroid 2023 JL2 – Asteroid 2023 JL2 will make its closest approach to Earth on May 20. According to NASA, this asteroid is almost 230 feet wide. The asteroid will come as close as 5.9 million kilometers near Earth and is already moving at a speed of 33666 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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5/6 Asteroid 2023 HG11 – Asteroid 2023 HG11, which is almost 39 feet wide, will make its closest approach to Earth on May 20. The asteroid is already rushing towards Earth slower than other asteroids at a speed of 1576 kilometers per hour and will pass the planet at a distance of 4.5 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
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6/6 Tech behind asteroid tracking: NASA keeps a watch on these asteroids by studying data collected by various telescopes and observatories such as the Pan-STARRS, the Catalina Sky Survey and the NEOWISE telescope. NASA also has a NEO Surveyor mission planned for launch in 2026 to gain even greater in-depth data using a new orbiter. (NASA)
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NASA has warned about the giant Asteroid 2023 JS4 that is travelling at a fiery speed of 49682 km per hour towards Earth. (Pixabay)

NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) is responsible for monitoring all known near-Earth objects (NEOs) and assessing their potential risk of impact. Scientists actively scan the skies with the latest technological instruments including telescopes, ground-based observatories and satellites to identify any unknown asteroids that may pose a collision risk. To detect such dangers, NASA has implemented the NEO Observations Program, which focuses on discovering, tracking, and characterizing NEOs, specifically those that could potentially endanger Earth. NASA has deployed the NEOWISE spacecraft to locate these potential threats from asteroids.

NASA's WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) spacecraft was an infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope. In 2013 the spacecraft was assigned a new mission as NEOWISE to help find near-Earth asteroids and comets.

Now, NASA has issued an alert regarding a massive asteroid named 2023 JS4, which is currently on its way to Earth and is anticipated to pass in close proximity. With an estimated size of 120-foot, this asteroid is scheduled to approach Earth today, May 18. NASA will closely monitor the situation to determine if there is any potential risk posed by the 120-foot-wide asteroid 2023 JS4.

Asteroid 2023 JS4 terror

As per NASA's asteroid data tracking page, Asteroid 2023 JS4 is set to make a close approach to Earth today, May 18, at a distance of merely 3.86 million miles, while hurtling through space at a rapid speed of 49682 kilometres per hour. This asteroid, classified under the Apollo group, was discovered quite recently on May 14, 2023. The-Sky.org reveals that it completes a full orbit around the Sun approximately every 1473 days.

Whenever a Near-Earth Object (NEO) approaches within 4.6 million miles or 7.5 million kilometres that is larger than about 150 meters, NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office issues a warning. Thankfully, this asteroid is not a potential threat but close watch on this swiftly coming space rock is vital to avoid any mishap.

Do asteroids hit the planets?

Yes, they do! Asteroids occasionally collide with other celestial bodies in space, such as planets and moons, with potentially devastating consequences. A notable example is the devastating event that occurred 65 million years ago, resulting in the demise of the dinosaurs on Earth. Several theories suggest that the impact of an asteroid released an immense amount of energy, causing widespread environmental changes that ultimately led to the extinction of dinosaurs and numerous other species. To mitigate the risk of such catastrophic events, NASA and other space agencies maintain continuous surveillance of potential asteroid threats. Not just that, Hubble Space Telescope snapped Jupiter after it was impacted by Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994- left Earth-sized holes in the planet.

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First Published Date: 18 May, 16:31 IST