68-foot Apollo group asteroid racing towards Earth for a close approach today, NASA data reveals

An Apollo-group Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) is set to make its close approach to Earth today, September 12. Know its speed, distance, and more as revealed by NASA.

| Updated on: Sep 12 2023, 10:21 IST
20-foot wide asteroid to make close approach to Earth; Speed, distance, proximity, shared by NASA
1/5 According to NASA, a small space rock named Asteroid 2023 RC1 is racing towards Earth at a very rapid speed. In accordance with the data, it is predicted to make a very close approach to Earth on September 12. (Pixabay)
2/5 According to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), Asteroid RC 1 is racing at a high speed of 18006 kilometres per hour and is scheduled to make its nearest approach to Earth tomorrow, September 12.  (Pixabay)
3/5 According to NASA's asteroid data, Asteroid 2023 RC1 is expected to come within just 1,200,000 kilometres to our planet. This will be the first-ever close approach of asteroid RC1 towards Earth. (Pixabay)
4/5 Asteroid 2023 RC 1  belongs to the Aten group of Near-Earth objects. The name of the group is derived from Asteroid 2062 Aten. (Pixabay)
5/5 Asteroid 2023 RC1 is 20 feet wide and it can be compared to a mini bus. As per NASA, the asteroid is not categorized as a potentially hazardous object. (NASA)
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Asteroid 2023 RO1 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Unsplash)

After years of waiting, NASA is finally on the verge of completing a historic mission. On September 24, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will bring the first-ever asteroid sample to the US soil, having travelled a distance of almost 7 billion kilometers. The sample is of an asteroid known as Bennu, which has a 1/2700 chance of impacting Earth between 2175 and 2195. The NASA spacecraft has completed a 2-year investigation of the asteroid and plucked a sample of the asteroid material from its surface. The spacecraft has also been studying how light absorbed from the Sun and re-radiated by Bennu affects its orbit—and consequently, how that orbit could become more dangerous for Earth.

Moreover, NASA has also revealed details about another asteroid that will pass the planet at a close distance soon. Is there a chance of impact? Know details.

When will this asteroid pass Earth?

According to the data published by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), an asteroid designated as Asteroid 2023 RO1 is approaching Earth at a fearsome speed and is expected to make its closest approach to the planet today, September 12.

How fast is it going?

Well, NASA has revealed that this space rock is currently travelling towards Earth at 44671 kilometers per hour. It will come as close as 2.5 million kilometers from the planet's surface. While this distance might seem a lot, it is relatively a small number in astronomical distances, considering how big the asteroid is.

How big is it?

NASA estimates it to be around 68 feet wide, which makes it almost as big as an aircraft! It 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.

While this asteroid has passed Earth before, this will be its first-ever close approach to the planet. It will make its next approach to Earth on March 20, 2029, when it will pass by a distance of 7.2 million kilometers.

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First Published Date: 12 Sep, 10:21 IST