MASSIVE 226-foot asteroid fast approaching Earth today, says NASA; Will it strike?

Just a couple of days ago, an asteroid exploded over the skies in Montana, US. Now, NASA warns that a huge 226-foot wide asteroid will be coming dangerously close to the Earth today.

| Updated on: Feb 18 2023, 12:24 IST
Asteroid fun facts in pics: NASA reveals all you need to know
Asteroid and Earth
1/5 Space is full of objects, out of which only a few have been discovered. Asteroids are some of these objects. If you are not aware about the dangerous objects called asteroids, here are some facts you should know. First, did you know that asteroids are sometimes called minor planets? Well, they are. (Pixabay)
2/5 Differences between an Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite: According to the information provided by NASA, Asteroid is a relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun. Comet is a relatively small, at times active, object whose ice can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas. Meteoroid is a small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun. Meteor is the light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere and vaporizes, in short, a shooting star. While, Meteorite is a meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth's atmosphere and lands upon the Earth's surface. (NASA)
3/5 Asteroid: Size, frequency and impact- More than 100 tons of dust and sand sized particles are bombarded towards Earth everyday, according to NASA. While, about once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface. Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area. Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth's civilization comes along. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences. Space rocks smaller than about 25 meters (about 82 feet) will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and cause little or no damage. By comparison, asteroids that populate the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and pose no threat to Earth, can be as big as 940 kilometers (about 583 miles) across. (NASA)
4/5 How is an Asteroid Orbit Calculated? An asteroid's orbit is computed by finding the elliptical path about the sun that best fits the available observations of the object. That is, the object's computed path about the sun is adjusted until the predictions of where the asteroid should have appeared in the sky at several observed times match the positions where the object was actually observed to be at those same times. (Pixabay)
5/5 What is NASA doing to find and learn more about potentially hazardous asteroids and comets? NASA has established a Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), managed in the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The PDCO ensures the early detection of potentially hazardous objects (PHOs) - asteroids and comets whose orbits are predicted to bring them within 0.05 Astronomical Units of Earth (5 million miles or 8 million kilometers) and of a size large enough to reach Earth's surface - that is, greater than approximately 30 to 50 meters. NASA tracks and characterizes these objects and issues warnings about potential impacts, providing timely and accurate information. NASA also leads the coordination of U.S. Government planning for response to an actual impact threat. (AFP)
View all Images
NASA reports that asteroid 2023 CC1 is headed towards the Earth today, February 18. (Wikimedia Commons)

Space is a hostile place. It is filled with multitudes of gigantic and high-speed celestial bodies moving in random directions. And some of them pose a direct threat to the Earth. Just a couple of days ago, an asteroid exploded over the skies in Montana, US. This is why space agencies such as NASA have doubled down on planetary defense measures. Last year, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission was conducted successfully and now, NASA has begun construction of the Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor space telescope which will scan the inner solar system in the infrared spectrum to look for any potentially dangerous asteroids. And now, NASA reveals that a mammoth 226-foot wide asteroid is going to make a close approach to our planet from a dangerously close distance. The risk is, if it gets trapped by the Earth's gravitational pull, there could be a huge disaster.

Big asteroid headed for the Earth today

NASA reports on the asteroid have given us significant information on what to expect. The asteroid is named 2023 CC1 and it was first spotted on January 25 of this year, as per Small-Body database. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) website tells us that the asteroid is going to come as close as 5.7 million kilometers to the Earth. While this might seem like a huge distance to some, the Center for Near Earth Objects Studies (CNEOS) data might shock you. According to them, the asteroid is traveling at a mind-numbing speed of 43,776 kilometers per hour!

However, the current NASA prediction states that the asteroid will likely make a safe passage across the planet. Yet, for precautionary reasons, the asteroid is being monitored by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) telescope. This tech marvel is a space telescope that has been tasked with monitoring all nearby space rocks in the inner circle of the solar system.

Know the NEOWISE telescope

It is very interesting to understand how this tech actually works. Ever since NASA became aware of the risk of the near-Earth objects (NEO), it has dedicated itself to track and monitor as many space rocks in the inner circle of the solar system as possible. Using the prowess of JPL and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope, the US space agency collects data for over 20,000 asteroids.

Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

First Published Date: 18 Feb, 12:23 IST