NASA telescopes track 65-foot asteroid approaching Earth at breakneck speed
An Aten-group asteroid, designated as Asteroid 2023 NP, will be coming dangerously close to Earth today, July 14. But is this close approach a cause for concern? Know details.
Asteroids are described as ancient space rocks left over from the early formation of our solar system around 4.6 billion years ago. These objects pass Earth occasionally at safe distances. NASA has carried out several missions to these rocks to study them up close. While the DART Test was in the news last year as the first-ever planetary defense test, the space agency also carried out missions like Dawn, OSIRIS-REx, and Hayabusa2.
The purpose of these missions is to study asteroids, minimize any uncertainties around their dangers and determine whether we could extract resources from them in the future. Research on asteroids is critical since it can provide valuable information on the early stages of the solar system and planetary development. Furthermore, these celestial bodies might contain useful resources such as metals and water, which may be utilized in forthcoming space missions.
NASA has also revealed details about an asteroid that will pass the planet at a close distance soon. But will it impact? Read on to find out.
When will it pass Earth?
According to the data published by NASA CNEOS, an asteroid designated as Asteroid 2023 NP is approaching Earth at a breakneck speed and is expected to make its closest approach to the planet today, July 14.
How big is it and how fast is it going?
This asteroid is not a planet-killer due to its relatively small size and has been determined to pass the planet safely. NASA estimates it to be around 65 feet wide, which is comparable to a small house!
The space agency has also revealed that Asteroid 2023 NP belongs to the Aten group of asteroids, which are Earth-crossing Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) with semi-major axes smaller than Earth's. They are named after the asteroid 2062 Aten and the first of its kind was discovered by American astronomer Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory on January 7, 1976.
This space rock is currently travelling towards Earth at 29660 kilometers per hour. It will come as close as 5 million kilometers, and while this distance might seem a lot, it is relatively a small number in astronomical distances, considering how big the asteroid is.
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