Brace for Impact? Aircraft-sized asteroid hurtling towards Earth at fearsome speed
NASA expects a 96-foot aircraft-sized asteroid to buzz Earth today. Know its speed, distance and more.
Although space may appear to be empty, it is actually populated by gigantic celestial objects, many of which remain undiscovered. Among these objects are asteroids, which are remnants of the early stages of our solar system's formation approximately 4.6 billion years ago, according to NASA. These rocky, airless bodies can be found mostly in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but they sometimes come near Earth.
Today is one such occasion as NASA has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2023 CS1 which is on its way towards the planet.
Asteroid 2023 CS1 details
NASA has issued an alert about an asteroid named Asteroid 2023 CS1 which is headed straight for Earth today, February 23. According to the space agency, this 96 feet wide is as big as an aircraft, and will make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 5.7 million kilometers. It is hurtling towards Earth at a staggering speed of 32924 kilometers per hour.
Although this asteroid is not expected to collide with Earth, a slight deviation in its trajectory due to the Earth's gravitational pull can send the asteroid hurtling towards Earth for an impact. Though you should not be worried as NASA has already tested the plan to engage in planetary defense to protect the planet against rogue asteroids through its DART Mission.
How NASA studies and tracks asteroids: Tech explained
Surveys done by NASA-supported ground-based telescopes – including Pans-STARRS1 in Maui, Hawaii, as well as the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona – have identified thousands of near-Earth objects. And a space-based telescope called NEOWISE has identified hundreds of others while scanning the skies at near-infrared wavelengths of light from its polar orbit around Earth. NASA uses its ground-based radar to gather precise data about the asteroid's path and its characteristics.
NASA also has a new impact monitoring system in place which uses an algorithm called Sentry-II to calculate the impact risk of Near-Earth Objects. The space agency has a NEO Surveyor mission planned for launch in 2026 to gain even greater in-depth data using a new orbiter.
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