150-foot asteroid on its way towards Earth, NASA reveals; Know close approach details
An aircraft-sized asteroid is hurtling towards Earth right now and it will pass the planet closely today, August 1. Here’s what NASA has revealed about this space rock.
NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). The organization has issued a warning against an asteroid designated as Asteroid 2023 OD5. It is just one of the 1,298,148 asteroids that have been discovered to date with the help of NASA's advanced ground and space-based telescopes and satellites and it will be making a close approach to Earth soon.
Asteroid 2023 OD5: Details
Asteroid 2023 OD5 is a Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) that is expected to make its closest approach to Earth today, August 1. Whilst this space rock will come very close to the planet, it is not expected to impact the surface. According to NASA, Asteroid 2023 OD5 will pass by Earth at a distance of around 5.3 million kilometers.
It is already on its way toward the planet, travelling at a blistering speed of 65714 kilometers per hour. While this asteroid will pass Earth by a very close margin, it is not big enough to be called a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid. According to NASA, Asteroid 2023 OD5 is almost 150 feet wide, making it almost as big as an aircraft!
The space agency has also revealed that Asteroid 2023 NP belongs to the Aten group of asteroids, which are Earth-crossing Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) with semi-major axes smaller than Earth's. They are named after the asteroid 2062 Aten and the first of its kind was discovered by American astronomer Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory on January 7, 1976.
Protection against asteroids
To counter the threat posed by asteroids, NASA has already carried out the first test of its DART Mission for planetary protection in 2022. The space agency crashed a spacecraft into an oncoming asteroid to successfully divert it from its path, thus successfully testing a method of asteroid diversion. Moreover, ESA has a mission in place called NEOMIR that will act as an early warning system for asteroids 20 meters and larger that cannot be seen from the ground.
Although NASA experts claim that no asteroid is expected to impact Earth for at least the next 100 years, countermeasures for planetary defense are important as they can help prevent the loss of life in case any asteroid strays towards Earth.
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