Close call! Aircraft-sized asteroid coming, NASA reveals details

An aircraft-sized asteroid could make its closest approach to Earth today, NASA has warned. Shockingly, it is the size of an aircraft! Know details.

| Updated on: Aug 24 2023, 10:26 IST
Wave of asteroids to pass by Earth soon! NASA reveals details of 5 space rocks
Asteroid 2023 QN2
1/5 Asteroid PM - Asteroid PM, is currently heading towards Earth and will pass close by Earth today, August 22. The asteroid is nearly the size of an aircraft with a width of 180 feet. It is travelling at almost 25083 kilometers per hour and will make its closest approach at 3.6 million kilometers. (NASA/JPL)
Asteroid 2023 QN2
2/5 Asteroid 2023 QU1 – Yet another asteroid named Asteroid 2023 QU1 will make its closest approach to Earth today, August 22. In terms of size, it is almost 66 feet wide. As per NASA, it will come as close as 6.2 million kilometers and is already moving at a speed of 20637 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 QN2
3/5 2023 QZ – 2023 QZ, which is nearly 47 feet wide, is heading for Earth and will make its closest approach today, August 22. It is moving at a blistering speed of 16211 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at a close distance of 5.1 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 QN2
4/5 Asteroid 2023 QW – Asteroid 2023 QW will make an extremely close approach to the planet on August 23. The asteroid, with a width of around 71 feet, will approach at a distance of just 1.6 million kilometers and a speed of nearly 58848 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 QO – Asteroid 2023 QO, with a width of just 46 feet, will make its closest approach to Earth on August 23. The space rock is already rushing towards Earth at a speed of 38661 kilometers per hour and will miss the planet by a distance of 2.4 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 QN2
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Asteroid 2023 QN2 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (NASA JPL)

NASA is gearing up to launch its Psyche mission from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 5 at 10:38 a.m. EDT, and it has now called upon digital content creators to cover this amazing feat. The Psyche spacecraft, assisted by a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, will lift off from Launch Complex 39A and will undertake a journey to an asteroid called 16 Psyche, which is located in the main asteroid belt, between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars.

Alongside 16 Psyche asteroid, another asteroid has piqued the interest of scientists lately as it will be making its closest approach to Earth in years today, August 24.

Asteroid 2023 QN2

NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has designated this space rock as Asteroid 2023 QN2, making it one of the 1298148 asteroids that have been discovered to date. As per NASA, it will make its closest approach to Earth today, August 24, and will pass at a distance of about 7.3 million kilometers. Asteroid 2023 QN2 has already been tracked hurtling towards Earth in its orbit, travelling at a blistering speed of 55546 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than a hypersonic ballistic missile!

While it will pass the planet closely, the asteroid does not pose any danger yet, due to its relatively small size. According to NASA, it is around 150 feet wide, making it almost as big as an aircraft. However, it still does not qualify as a Potentially Hazardous Object as it does not fit the criteria.

Asteroid 2023 QN2 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.

About Psyche mission

One of the most shocking discoveries about the 16 Psyche asteroid is that it could be worth more than the whole Earth's economy put together! According to NASA, the 16 Psyche asteroid, which is one of the biggest asteroids in our Solar System, is made up of gold, nickel, and iron deposits and is supposedly worth more than Earth's economy. It is worth a staggering $10 quadrillion! Other than its gold-rich structure, the outer surface of this asteroid is nickel-rich which resembles an early planet's core.

With its Psyche mission, scientists have a chance to study how terrestrial planets were formed, without having to carve up the Earth.

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First Published Date: 24 Aug, 10:26 IST
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