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.

| Updated on: Feb 23 2023, 10:18 IST
NASA on alert as 5 asteroids, including mammoth 1500-foot asteroid, heading for Earth soon
1/5 Asteroid 1993 VB – Asteroid 1993 VB will pass Earth today, February 21, at a distance of 6.5 million kilometers. In fact, it is already rushing towards the planet, travelling at a fearsome speed of 39864 kilometers per hour. NASA has estimated Asteroid 1993 VB to be nearly 1500 feet (about half the height of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world) wide! (Pixabay)
2/5 Asteroid 2023 DF - NASA has issued an alert against another 44 feet wide asteroid named Asteroid 2023 DF. This terrifying asteroid is expected to come extremely close to Earth today, February 21. Its distance of close approach will be just 1.6 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 35137 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
3/5 Asteroid 2023 CM2 – This asteroid, with a width of 67 feet, will make its close trip to Earth tomorrow, February 22, at a distance of just 820,000 kilometers. The asteroid, known as Asteroid 2023 CM2, is already rushing towards Earth, travelling at a speed slower than other asteroids, at 40508 kilometers per hour.  (NASA)
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4/5 Asteroid 2023 AA2 – Another asteroid named Asteroid 2023 AA2 is heading for Earth and will make a close approach tomorrow, February 22. This asteroid is gigantic, with a width between 328 feet and 721 feet and it is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 24913 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at an extremely close distance of just 6.6 million kilometers.  (NASA/JPL)
5/5 Asteroid 2023 DE – The fifth asteroid, with a size ranging between 62 feet and 134 feet, is named Asteroid 2023 DE and will be making its closest Earth approach tomorrow, February 22. It will come as close as 3.3 million kilometers, according to NASA JPL. The asteroid is moving at a blistering speed of 60690 kilometers per hour.  (Wikimedia Commons)
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Asteroid 2023 CS1 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

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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First Published Date: 23 Feb, 09:59 IST