Asteroid 2023 QC5 headed for its first-ever close approach of Earth

An Amor group asteroid is expected to make its first-ever close approach to Earth soon. This will be the asteroid’s only approach in the near future as well. Know its speed, distance and other details, as per NASA.

| Updated on: Sep 05 2023, 11:14 IST
Top 5 mass extinction events that tragically hit Earth
1/6 We have heard over the years that some species of animals are disappearing rapidly, and we must take measures to preserve their existence. However, animal extinction is not the only story of today’s generation as they have been going on millions of years due you massive destructive events on Earth. (Pixabay)
2/6 Ordovician-Silurian extinction: According to a Live Science report, over 440 million years ago, the change in sea and water temperature due to climate change caused the extinction of various water bodies such as corals and shelled brachiopods. The event impacted lower sea levels and destroyed habitats for living organisms, food chains and more. However, the cause of the event was not discovered.  (Pixabay)
3/6 Late Devonian extinction: The Devonian period extinction happened over 365 million years ago which wiped over 75 percent. This event wiped out a 10-meter armoured fish called Dunkleosteus. The formation of algae lowered oxygen from the water which created dead zones for various water bodies. However, various scientists also believe that volcanic eruptions were responsible for the decrease in oxygen in water levels. (Pixabay)
4/6 Permian-Triassic extinction: This event is considered one of the largest extinction events which stripped 90 percent of the Earth's species including reptiles, insects amphibians and more. The event occurred almost 253 million years ago. During this time, the Earth was considered a period of rampant volcanism due to which the greenhouse effect was at its peak causing an increase in carbon dioxide, acid rain, rising sea levels and more. (NASA)
5/6 Triassic-Jurassic extinction: This age is considered one of the dinosaurs' age, however, with unknown climatic changes 80 percent of the species were whipped out about 201 million years ago. Experts believe that this event also occurred due to massive volcanic eruptions and global eruptions. This also caused the melting of ice and increased the sea levels and the water became toxic for marine life. (Pixabay)
6/6 K-Pg extinction: This event is famously known for dinosaur extinction, where 75 percent of the species was wiped out about 66 million years ago. As per reports, an asteroid called Chicxulub struck the Earth at a massive speed and killed many species. The impact was 180 km wide and 19 km deep.  (Pixabay)
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Asteroid 2023 QC5 belongs to the Amor group of Near-Earth Asteroids. (Pixabay)

NASA's historic Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) was a successful attempt to divert an oncoming asteroid from its path of collision with Earth. Now, the European Space Agency is preparing to study the aftermath of the collision between the DART spacecraft and the Dimorphos asteroid with its Hera spacecraft. It will fly to the asteroid to survey the aftermath of impact and gather information such as the size of the impact crater, the mass of the asteroid and its make-up and internal structure.

NASA, with the help of its advanced ground and space-based telescopes such as Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), and Pans-STARRS1, has discovered an asteroid that will buzz Earth in the coming days.

Asteroid 2023 QC5 details

According to details revealed by NASA, an asteroid, identified as Asteroid 2023 QC5, is close to Earth, travelling at 27327 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach to the Earth on September 8. On that day, it will come as close as 4 million kilometers to the planet. Astonishingly, this will be Asteroid 2023 QC5's first-ever close approach to Earth. As per NASA, no other close approach has been predicted for the near future.

This space rock belongs to the Amor group of Near-Earth Asteroids which are Earth-approaching near-Earth asteroids with orbits exterior to Earth but interior to Mars', named after asteroid 1221 Amor, which was discovered by Belgian astronomer E. Delporte in 1932.

In terms of size, NASA estimates it to be around 79 feet wide, making it almost as big as an aircraft, and slightly bigger than the Chelyabinsk asteroid. Although its small size disqualifies it from being a Potentially Hazardous Object, it could still cause damage if it impacts the surface, as evidenced by the Chelyabinsk incident.

These close approaches have served as a reminder of the threat posed by these space rocks and highlighted the importance of tracking and studying them. But how does NASA do so?

How does NASA track an asteroid – The process explained

When NASA's telescopes track a new Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA), astronomers measure the asteroid's observed positions in the sky and report them to the Minor Planet Center. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) then uses that data to determine the asteroid's most likely orbit around the Sun, according to NASA.

To assess whether an impact is possible and narrow down where the true orbit may be, NASA's new Sentry II then uses a new algorithm and selects random points throughout the entire uncertainty region. This allows Sentry-II to zero in on more very low probability impact scenarios.

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First Published Date: 05 Sep, 11:14 IST