Asteroid warning! NASA reveals 40-foot asteroid set for close Earth approach today

A 40-foot asteroid is charging towards Earth and could make a close approach soon. NASA has revealed its details such as speed, distance and trajectory.

| Updated on: Mar 21 2023, 09:49 IST
Alert! 5 asteroids, including a 450-foot monster rock, racing towards Earth
1/5 Asteroid 2023 EY – Asteroid 2023 EY, which is 52 feet wide, will make its closest approach to Earth today, March 17. The asteroid is already rushing towards Earth at a speed of 29246 kilometers per hour and will miss the planet by an extremely close distance of just 239,539 kilometers, which is even closer than the Moon! (Pixabay)
2/5 Asteroid 2018 UQ1 – Another asteroid named Asteroid 2018 UQ1 is heading for Earth and will make a close approach today, March 17. This 450-foot wide asteroid is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 42037 kilometers per hour. It will pass by Earth at an extremely close distance of 4.1 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
3/5 Asteroid 2023 ES1 - Asteroid 2023 ES1, which is 30 feet wide, will make a close approach today, March 17. This asteroid is heading for Earth at a speed of 28839 kilometers per hour. It will pass by Earth at a distance of just 1.9 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
4/5 Asteroid 2023 EZ - Asteroid 2023 EZ will make its closest approach to Earth tomorrow, March 18. This 64-foot wide asteroid will come as close as 6.2 million kilometers to Earth, reveals NASA. It is moving at a speed of 23771 kilometers per hour. (NASA)
5/5 Asteroid 2016 WH - Asteroid 2016 WH, the 5th asteroid, with a width of approximately 44 feet, will be making its closest Earth approach on March 19. It will come as close as 6.9 million kilometers, according to NASA. The asteroid is moving at a fearsome speed of 42380 kilometers per hour. (Wikimedia Commons)
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Asteroid 2018 FE3 belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids. (Pixabay)

To study asteroids that are not in the asteroid belt and reveal those that are still unknown, NASA has the Lucy Space Mission in place. NASA launched the Lucy spacecraft on Oct. 16, 2021 from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This is NASA's first space mission to study the Trojans, a group of asteroids which orbit the Sun in two groups, according to NASA. It is built to seek out trojan asteroids millions of kilometers from Earth.

With the help of these space and ground-based telescopes, NASA has revealed that an asteroid is dashing towards Earth today, and it is a big one.

Asteroid 2018 FE3 details

The asteroid, called Asteroid 2018 FE3, is already on its way towards Earth travelling at a staggering speed of 19605 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of just 3.8 million kilometers. 

NASA has also revealed the asteroid's size, estimating it at around 40 feet wide, which makes it almost as big as a house! The asteroid is expected to miss the planet.

Protection against asteroids

To counter these asteroids which head for Earth for potential impact, NASA has already carried out the testing of its DART Mission for planetary protection. The space agency crashed a spacecraft into an oncoming asteroid to successfully divert it from its path.

Now, ESA is also gearing up to build an early warning system for dangerous asteroids. Called NEOMIR (Near-Earth Object Mission in the InfraRed), the spacecraft would orbit between the Earth and the Sun at the L1 Lagrange Point, finding space rocks that otherwise get lost in the glare of the Sun, as per the ESA.

The NEOMIR mission will act as an early warning system for asteroids 20 meters and larger that cannot be seen from the ground.

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First Published Date: 21 Mar, 09:47 IST
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