NASA warning! A Mammoth skyscraper-sized asteroid to approach the Earth today

An asteroid, bigger than the Tunguska asteroid, is expected to make its closest Earth approach today, July 5. Is it dangerous?

| Updated on: Jul 05 2023, 09:53 IST
Asteroid 2023 HO6 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 HO6 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

Just a few days ago, we celebrated World Asteroid Day to spread awareness and knowledge about the dangers of asteroids and the measures required to protect Earth against their impact. But why June 30? According to NASA, World Asteroid Day is celebrated on June 30 every year as it commemorates the Tunguska event, the largest asteroid strike on Earth in recorded history. It happened when a carbonaceous asteroid on Earth on June 30, 1908, in Yeniseysk Governorate, Russia. Upon impact, it decimated about 2150 square kilometers of forest and scorched the ground, resulting in a 12-megaton explosion. This event was termed the “largest cosmic event ever witnessed by humans,” by David Morrison, a planetary science researcher at the NASA Ames Research Center.

While it is not expected to strike Earth, NASA has issued a warning against an asteroid that is hurtling towards Earth for close approach today.

Asteroid 2023 HO6

The asteroid, designated as Asteroid 2023 HO6 by NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), is one of 1,298,148 asteroids that are currently known and tracked by space agencies. Asteroid 2023 HO6 will make its closest approach to Earth today, July 5, at a distance of about 2 million kilometers.

Shockingly, it is already rushing towards Earth in its orbit, traveling at a speed of about 27969 kilometers per hour, which is just shy of the speed of a hypersonic ballistic missile.

Is it dangerous?

NASA has revealed that this asteroid is almost as big as a skyscraper, with a width of almost 570 feet. It has been added to NASA's Close Approaches list and has also been declared as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid due to its close distance of approach as well as its enormous size.

In fact, this asteroid is bigger in size than the space rock which struck Earth in 1908 and caused the Tunguska event! Moreover, it is massive compared to the 59 feet asteroid which struck the city of Chelyabinsk in 2013, damaging nearly 8000 buildings and leaving over 1000 people injured.

Asteroid 2023 HO6 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.

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First Published Date: 05 Jul, 09:52 IST