NASA warns of close approach by asteroid! 190-ft space rock racing towards Earth | Tech News

NASA warns of close approach by asteroid! 190-ft space rock racing towards Earth

An aircraft-sized asteroid is on its way towards Earth and could come as close as 1.2 million kilometers. Know details, as per NASA.

| Updated on: Jul 17 2023, 09:24 IST
Stadium-sized asteroid among 4 other space rocks approaching Earth at breakneck speeds
1/5 Asteroid 2023 NP – Asteroid 2023 NP, which is nearly 65 feet wide, is heading for Earth and will make a close approach today, July 14. This asteroid is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 29660 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at a close distance of 5 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
2/5 Asteroid 2023 NY – Asteroid 2023 NY will make its closest approach to Earth on July 15. In terms of size, it is almost 46 feet wide. As per NASA, it will come as close as 4.4 million kilometers and is already moving at a speed of 7598 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 NW – Asteroid 2023 NW will make its extremely close approach to the planet on July 16. The asteroid, with a width of 100 feet, will approach at a distance of 6 million kilometers and at a speed of nearly 61471 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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4/5 Asteroid 2023 MG6 - The biggest asteroid of them all, Asteroid 2023 MG6, is currently heading towards Earth and will pass by Earth on July 16. The asteroid is a staggering 910 feet wide, travelling at almost 44562 kilometers per hour while making its closest approach at 3.6 million kilometers.  (NASA)
5/5 Asteroid 2020 UQ3 – Asteroid 2020 UQ3, with a width of nearly 190 feet, will make its closest approach to Earth on July 18. The space rock is already rushing towards Earth at a speed of 33387 kilometers per hour and will miss the planet by a distance of 1.2 million kilometers. (asteroid)
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Asteroid 2020 UQ3 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

An asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2020 UQ3, is on its way towards Earth and could make its closest approach to the planet as soon as tomorrow, July 18. NASA revealed these shocking details after tracking the asteroid's orbit using its various satellites and space and ground-based telescopes. As per the details provided by NASA, Asteroid 2020 UQ3 is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of just 1.2 million kilometers, and at a speed of 33387 kilometers per hour.

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.

Is Asteroid 2020 UQ3 dangerous?

According to NASA, the asteroid that is approaching Earth is not expected to crash and isn't big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. To end all life on Earth, an asteroid would have to be at least 96 kilometers wide. On the other hand, Asteroid 2020 UQ3 is almost 190 feet wide, which is not big enough to cause a catastrophe. 

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However, it can be compared to an aircraft, and could still cause some damage, especially if it crashed in a densely populated area.

History of asteroid impacts

While large asteroids, such as the one which triggered the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, are known as planet killers, several smaller space rocks have also caused loss of life and property. In 2013, a mere 59 feet wide asteroid exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia, damaging 8000 buildings, injuring over 1000 people.

On the other hand, the largest asteroid strike on Earth in recorded history happened on June 30, 1908, when a carbonaceous asteroid crashed on Earth in Yeniseysk Governorate, Russia. Upon impact, it decimated about 2150 square kilometers of forest and scorched the ground, resulting in a 12-megaton explosion.

Recent meteor strike

Just yesterday, a woman sitting on her terrace in the village of Alsace in Eastern France was struck by a meteor which bounced off the roof and hit her chest! Later, she got the rock examined by a geologist named Dr. Thierry Rebmann, who confirmed that it was indeed a meteorite from outer space.

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First Published Date: 17 Jul, 08:14 IST