Mammoth 350-foot asteroid set to pass Earth today, says NASA! Know how close it will get | Tech News

Mammoth 350-foot asteroid set to pass Earth today, says NASA! Know how close it will get

An Apollo group asteroid, estimated to be nearly 350 feet wide, has been tracked in its orbit and is expected to pass Earth today, February 29. Know its speed, distance of approach and more, as per NASA.

| Updated on: Feb 29 2024, 14:10 IST
NASA Boeing Crew Flight Test mission set to launch historic Starliner spacecraft with astronauts
1/7 Join NASA in witnessing a milestone moment as part of the Commercial Crew Program- the launch of NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station (ISS). This mission marks Boeing's inaugural crewed flight aboard the Starliner spacecraft. (NASA)
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2/7 NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will take off on this historic journey aboard the Starliner, to be launched by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Their destination: the ISS, where they will spend up to two weeks conducting vital tests and experiments. (NASA)
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3/7 Mission Details: Scheduled for liftoff in mid-April 2024 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, the mission will evaluate the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner system. This includes the launch, docking, and the spacecraft's return to Earth in the western United States desert. (@NASAKennedy)
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4/7 Certification Process: Following a successful mission, NASA will initiate the final certification process for the Starliner and its systems, paving the way for future crewed missions to the ISS. The outcome of this mission is crucial for the continued success of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. (NASA)
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5/7 Exclusive Photo Opportunity: U.S. media has the opportunity to apply for a unique photo opportunity during the rollout of the Starliner spacecraft from Boeing's Commercial Cargo and Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This event is scheduled for early April, adding an extra layer of excitement to the pre-launch preparations. (NASA)
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6/7 For those eager to be part of the action, NASA Social registration opens on Wednesday, Feb. 21, and closes at 3 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 27. This is a chance to engage with the mission online using #NASASocial. Registration is limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. (NASA)
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7/7 How to Watch and What's Next:  If you can't attend in person, don't worry! The launch will be broadcast on NASA Television and Follow regular updates on @NASA, @NASAKennedy, and @Commercial_Crew. Stay tuned for more NASA Socials in the future, and watch for confirmation emails regarding your registration status by March 1. (NASA)
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Asteroid 2024 CA7 belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, NASA says. (Pixabay)

As many as two asteroids passed Earth yesterday in close proximity. One of them was nearly 120 feet wide, which is nearly the size of an aircraft! Despite their close approaches, these asteroids did not pose a threat to Earth and had no chance of impact. But how do these space rocks come close to the planet? NASA says this happens due to the interaction with a large planet's gravitational field, which can send the tumbling towards a planet, raising a potential impact scenario. With the help of its advanced tech, the US Space Agency has shed light on another asteroid that is set to pass Earth today, February 29.

Asteroid 2024 CA7: Details of close approach

NASA says this asteroid has been designated as Asteroid 2024 CA7 by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), an organization dedicated to studying NEOs and their potential impact on the planet. It is predicted to pass by Earth at a distance of approximately 5.69 million kilometers. While this distance might seem like a lot, it is quite less in astronomical terms.

As per the space agency, the asteroid has been tracked in its orbit, travelling towards Earth at a breakneck speed of 116,965 kilometers per hour, which is almost twice the speed of a space shuttle!

How big is it?

NASA says the asteroid that is approaching Earth isn't big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. Asteroid 2024 CA7 is estimated to be almost 350 feet wide, which is not big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. In terms of size, it is nearly as big as a building!

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.

This will be Asteroid 2024 CA7's first-ever close approach in history. According to NASA CNEOS, it is not expected to pass the planet again in the near future.

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First Published Date: 29 Feb, 14:09 IST