Asteroid warning! 239-foot asteroid discovered speeding towards Earth by NASA
NASA expects a 239 feet wide asteroid to make a close Earth flyby today. Is there a chance of impact?
Asteroids have time and again impacted Earth and changed the course of history. Some of these space rocks even triggered an extinction-level event. One of the major asteroid-related events in history was when one struck the Earth nearly 65 million years ago. It was responsible for triggering the extinction of dinosaurs when it crashed on Earth near the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. But that isn't even the biggest asteroid to ever hit Earth.
Although nearly not as dangerous, NASA has warned that another asteroid is heading for a close approach with Earth today.
Asteroid 2023 BA4
NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2023 BA4. The asteroid is expected to fly past Earth closely today, January 31, at a distance of 6.7 million kilometers. According to NASA, the asteroid is gigantic with a size between 108 feet to 239 feet across. This space rock is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 28291 kilometers per hour.
Although this asteroid is not expected to impact Earth, a slight deviation in its path due to interaction with the planet's gravitational field could change its trajectory with catastrophic consequences.
According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2023 BA4 belongs to the Aten group of asteroids. It was discovered just days ago on January 25. This asteroid takes just 237 days to complete one trip around the Sun during which its maximum distance from the Sun is 154 million kilometers and nearest distance is just 70 million kilometers.
Previous asteroid impacts on Earth
Although asteroids are 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, happened the Chelyabinsk incident 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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