Double asteroid flyby today! 2 monster rocks speeding towards Earth, warns NASA

NASA warned that two bus-sized asteroids are approaching Earth. Should you worry? Know what the space agency said.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Apr 20 2023, 14:24 IST
NASA: DART Mission set to DEFLECT giant asteroid
Asteroids
1/5 Apocalyptic movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon and Don't Look Up have always explored the ‘What Ifs’ of world destruction. Now, NASA is set to defend the planet against a very similar threat that is posed by asteroids. (Pixabay)
DART mission
2/5 The DART mission will cost a staggering $240 million. The aim of the mission is to smash a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid to deflect it away from its path. While this asteroid in no way threatens Earth, the NASA asteroid mission is to carry out an experiment to gain greater knowledge as to what happens when a craft is crashed against a space rock. This knowledge will be used if an actual asteroid threatens to crash against the Earth. It will help avert an Armageddon on Earth and perhaps, even save humanity from extinction. (NASA)
Asteroid and Earth
3/5 According to Financial Times, chief scientist at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, Andy Cheng, came up with the DART concept along with a senior researcher. Dr. Cheng said, “It feels very exciting — like a dream come true — for something we’ve been thinking about for 20 years to be actually happening." (Pixabay)
Asteroid
4/5 The DART mission has already sent the main spacecraft to space in November, 2021. It includes a satellite made by the Italian Space Agency. Another spacecraft is set to launch by 2026, to measure the impact. (NASA)
Asteroid
5/5 NASA said, "DART is the first-ever mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid’s motion in space through kinetic impact." (Pixabay)
Asteroids
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Two asteroids will make their closest approach to Earth today. (Wikimedia Commons)

A number of asteroids pass close to the Earth almost every day, but only a few of them pose risk to humanity. Today, NASA has issued a warning that two dangerous asteroids are ready to make their close approach to Earth. According to CNEOS data, the first asteroid, named 2023 HK, which is about 42-foot in size, roughly the size of a bus, is moving at a rapid speed of 57338 kilometres per hour. The second asteroid, named 2023 HJ, a 34-foot space rock, is rushing towards Earth at a speed of 33031 kilometres per hour. Despite their small sizes, you may be wondering why scientists are focusing on these asteroids.

The main concern issue is the proximity of asteroids to Earth. As per NASA's asteroid data tracking webpage, asteroid 2023 HJ will approach Earth at a distance of merely 1.17 million miles. However, asteroid 2023 HK is particularly worrying as it will come remarkably close to Earth on April 20, at a distance of only 212,000 miles, even closer than the gap between Earth and the Moon, which measures 239,000 miles.

Do these asteroids pose danger to Earth?

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Center for NEO Studies maintains a list of near-Earth objects that are likely to make close approaches to Earth in order to detect any potential dangers ahead of time. NASA's JPL has classified all space rocks that come within 4.6 million miles of Earth and have a size greater than approximately 150 meters as "potentially hazardous objects."

Thankfully, these asteroids are not flagged as potentially hazardous objects. However, asteroids can be diverted from their path by the gravitational force of a planet, causing them to head towards a planet such as Earth, which could result in a catastrophic impact.

NASA's tech for tracking asteroids

NASA uses various technologies, such as telescopes and satellites, both on Earth and in space, to monitor these asteroids. Planetary radar, conducted by radio telescopes at NASA's Deep Space Network and the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, provides some of the most detailed characterization data for NEOs that come close enough to Earth to be observed.

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First Published Date: 20 Apr, 13:31 IST
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