Bridge-sized asteroid to come as close as 5.5mn km to Earth, reveals NASA | Tech News

Bridge-sized asteroid to come as close as 5.5mn km to Earth, reveals NASA

A Near-Earth Asteroid which is bigger than the Empire State Building is predicted to pass Earth closely today, December 6. Know the asteroid’s speed, distance of approach, size, and other details, as per NASA.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Dec 06 2023, 10:12 IST
2200-foot asteroid, 4 other space rocks to pass Earth; NASA shows how close they will get
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1/5 Asteroid 2023 WW - The first asteroid to pass Earth today, December 5, is designated Asteroid 2023 WW. During its approach, it will come as close as 2.9 million kilometers to the planet. According to NASA, the space rock is 130 feet wide and is travelling at a speed of almost 30672 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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2/5 Asteroid 2001 QQ142 – The second asteroid on its way is designated Asteroid 2001 QQ142, and it will pass by Earth tomorrow, December 6. According to NASA, this space rock has a staggering width of 2200 feet. Its orbit will take it almost as close as 5.5 million kilometers to the planet’s surface while moving at a speed of 23975 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 XL – Yet another space rock named Asteroid 2023 XL will pass Earth tomorrow, December 6. In terms of size, the asteroid is almost 80 feet wide. As per NASA, it will come as close as 6.1 million kilometers and is already moving at a speed of 28845 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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4/5 Asteroid 2023 XK – Asteroid 2023 XK will also pass by Earth tomorrow, December 6. During its close approach, it will come as close as 6.4 million kilometers to the planet’s surface. With a width of nearly 100 feet, the space rock is speeding towards Earth at 32074 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 TB27 – Asteroid 2023 TB27, with a width of nearly 140 feet, will pass Earth tomorrow, December 6. According to NASA, this asteroid is travelling at almost 15304 kilometers per hour and will pass the planet at a distance of 6.5 million kilometers. (Pixabay )
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The bridge-sized asteroid will pass Earth by a close margin today, NASA has revealed. (Pixabay)

Telescopes such as NEOWISE, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), Pans-STARRS1, and Catalina Sky Survey help NASA track and study asteroids that are present in space. After studying the data, the US space agency has shed light on an asteroid that is expected to pass Earth by a close margin today, December 6. This asteroid is colossal in size! Know all about the close encounter with the Asteroid 2001 QQ142.

Asteroid 2001 QQ142: Details of close approach

This Near-Earth space rock, designated Asteroid 2001 QQ142 by NASA, is expected to pass the planet at a distance of approximately 5.5 million kilometers today. It is travelling around the Sun in its orbit and is approaching Earth at a speed of 23975 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)!

According to NASA, it belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, which are Earth-crossing space rocks with semi-major axes larger than Earth's. These asteroids are named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.

How big is the asteroid?

In terms of size, Asteroid 2001 QQ142 is nearly 2200 feet wide, and is comparable in size to a colossal bridge! It is even bigger than the iconic Empire State Building! As per NASA, this asteroid has been designated as a Potentially Hazardous Object by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). This means its massive size, along with the close distance of approach, could potentially threaten Earth and could cause catastrophic damage if it is impacted.

Shockingly, this will not be Asteroid 2001 QQ142's first-ever close approach to Earth. It passed Earth for the first time ever on August 1, 1901, when it flew past the planet at a distance of 72 million kilometers. After today, this space rock will again pass the planet on January 18, 2029, at a distance of 68 million kilometers.

Importance of studying asteroids

However, asteroids also pose a threat to the planet on occasion. These ancient space rocks have impacted Earth in the past and changed the course of history. More often than not, asteroids pass Earth at close but safe distances without ever touching the surface. However, it is still important to track them to minimize the uncertainties around their close approaches.

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First Published Date: 06 Dec, 10:11 IST
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