Aircraft-sized asteroid poses grave danger in a close encounter with Earth!

In response to an approaching asteroid today, NASA has issued a warning. Will this 94-foot asteroid impact?

| Updated on: May 05 2023, 09:44 IST
5 asteroids rushing towards Earth! One to come as close as the Moon
1/5 Asteroid 2023 HV5 – Asteroid 2023 HV5, which almost 41 feet wide, will make its closest approach to Earth tomorrow, May 3. The asteroid is already rushing towards Earth at a speed of 32152 kilometers per hour and will pass the planet at just 435,000 kilometers, which is almost as near as the Moon!  (Pixabay)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 HF7 – Another asteroid named Asteroid 2023 HF7 is heading for Earth and will make a close approach on May 4. This asteroid, with a size of approximately 52 feet, is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 47116 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at a close distance of just 638,000 million kilometers.  (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 HH7 – Asteroid 2023 HH7, which is almost 88 feet wide, is heading for Earth and will make a close approach on May 4. This asteroid is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 88314 kilometers per hour and will miss Earth by 838,000 kilometers.  (Pixabay)
4/5 Asteroid 2023 HZ4 – The biggest asteroid of the bunch, Asteroid 2023 HZ4 will make its closest approach to Earth on May 4. According to NASA, this asteroid is almost as big as an airplane with a width of 170 feet. The asteroid will come as close as 3 million kilometers near Earth and is already moving at a fearsome speed of 81916 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2006 HX57 – The fifth asteroid, with a width of almost 94 feet, is named Asteroid 2006 HX57 and will be making its closest Earth approach on May 5. It will come as close as 2.5 million kilometers, according to NASA. The asteroid is moving at a breakneck speed of 39655 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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Asteroid 2006 HX57 belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids. (Pixabay)

Although asteroids are in elliptical orbits far out in space, these rocks also rotate, sometimes quite erratically in their orbit. Interaction with the gravitational field of a planet can cause asteroids to deviate from their trajectory and impact a planet like Earth. These space rocks are usually made up of rocks, but they can also be made of metals such as nickel and iron, or even clay. The increasing proximity of asteroids to Earth makes it imperative for space agencies to continuously monitor them.

In response to an approaching asteroid today, NASA has issued a warning. Know the asteroid's details here.

Asteroid 2006 HX57 details

It has been reported by NASA that the asteroid, identified as Asteroid 2006 HX57, is close to Earth, traveling at 39655 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach to the Earth today, May 5, at a distance of 2.6 million kilometers. Furthermore, NASA has revealed that it belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids.

In terms of size, NASA estimates it to be around 94 feet wide, making it almost as big as an aircraft! Although NASA scientists estimate that an asteroid would have to be about 96 km wide to completely and utterly wipe out life on Earth, smaller asteroids such as Asteroid 2006 HX57 also have the potential to cause damage up to some extent.

For example, the asteroid which exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk was just 59 feet wide. When it exploded, it damaged nearly 8000 buildings and left over 1000 people injured.

Previous asteroid impacts on Earth

Although asteroids have been safely passing near Earth these past few months, it doesn't mean a collision with Earth isn't on the cards. In fact, an asteroid was the reason behind the extinction of one of the largest species on the planet nearly 65 million years ago – dinosaurs.

According to the Alvarez hypothesis, the extinction was caused by a massive asteroid which crashed on Earth more than 65 million years ago. The asteroid terraformed the planet and is likely the reason that started the extinction of dinosaurs. Scientists have even found the impact crater of the asteroid in Chicxulub, near the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

And a few years ago, the Chelyabinsk incident happened and much before that, the Tunguska event. The largest asteroid to hit Earth was around 2 billion years ago and it left behind the Vredefort crater near Johannesburg.

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First Published Date: 05 May, 09:44 IST