Phew! Truck-sized asteroid misses Earth | Tech News

Phew! Truck-sized asteroid misses Earth

A truck-sized asteroid that suddenly loomed out of the darkness a few days ago -- with the Earth in its sights -- sailed harmlessly past us on Thursday, space scientists said.

By:AFP
| Updated on: Jan 28 2023, 08:01 IST
Asteroid threat looms! 5 asteroids set to buzz Earth soon, NASA reveals
Asteroid 2023 BU
1/5 Asteroid 2019 AY3 - NASA has red-flagged an asteroid named Asteroid 2019 AY3 due to its extremely close approach to the planet. The asteroid has a width of 190 feet, making it nearly as big as an aircraft, and will make its closest approach to Earth today, January 4 at a distance of 6.4 million kilometers per hour and is already on its way travelling at a speed of nearly 71074 kilometers per hour.  (Wikimedia Commons)
Asteroid 2023 BU
2/5 Asteroid 2022 YS4 - This space rock is on its way towards Earth and will make a close approach today, January 4. This asteroid is nearly the size of an aircraft with a width of 85 feet. The Asteroid 2022 YS4 is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 2.2 million kilometers at a speed of 24470 kilometers per hour.  (Wikimedia Commons)
Asteroid 2023 BU
3/5 Asteroid 2022 YL4 – This asteroid, with a size ranging between 26 feet and 59 feet, will make its close trip to Earth tomorrow, January 5 at a distance of nearly 1.9 million kilometers. The asteroid, known as Asteroid 2022 YL4, is already rushing towards Earth slower than other asteroids at a speed of 7038 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 BU
4/5 Asteroid 2022 YN1 – Another asteroid named Asteroid 2022 YN1 is heading for Earth and will make a close approach on January 6. This asteroid, with a size between 131 feet and 291 feet, is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 19836 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at a distance of 7 million kilometers.  (Pixabay)
image caption
5/5 Asteroid 2021 TL – The fifth and largest asteroid, with a size ranging between 183 feet and 393 feet, is named Asteroid 2021 TL and will be making its closest Earth approach on January 9. It will come as close as 5.4 million kilometers, according to NASA JPL. The asteroid is moving at a blistering speed of 30422 kilometer per hour. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 BU
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Asteroid 2023 BU, the space rock which was set to come extremely close to the Earth, has left our planet unharmed. (NASA)

Bruce Willis: you can stand down.

A truck-sized asteroid that suddenly loomed out of the darkness a few days ago -- with the Earth in its sights -- sailed harmlessly past us on Thursday, space scientists said.

Despite what we've seen in movies like "Armageddon," no global mission to blow it up or knock it off course with nuclear weapons was required.

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Instead, Asteroid 2023 BU whizzed past without incident and back out into the blackness of space.

Phew.

The rock, which was spotted for the first time on Saturday by an amateur stargazer in Crimea, came closest to the southern tip of South America at around 0029 GMT Friday, according to scientists who were tracking it.

At its nearest point, the asteroid was just 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers) from Earth's surface -- just a quarter of the height of many of the geostationary satellites that make our telephones and car navigation systems work.

Amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov, who had already spotted an interstellar comet in 2019, raised the alarm over the weekend, alerting fellow space-watchers to the previously unknown celestial body.

Scientists around the world raced to calculate where it was headed -- and whether we needed to start making last-minute evacuation plans.

But experts using NASA's Scout impact hazard assessment system rapidly determined the alien visitor was coming in peace.

"Scout quickly ruled out 2023 BU as an impactor, but despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth," said NASA's Davide Farnocchia, who helped develop Scout.

"In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded."

If the math had been off, however, humanity would still probably have been alright, scientists say.

At between just 3.5 to 8.5 meters (11 to 28 feet) across, Asteroid 2023 BU is a bit small to cause too much damage, and would have largely burned up as it hurtled through the atmosphere.

The few meteorites that did make it to the ground would have been small, not the city-destroying, tsunami-generating monsters of "Deep Impact."

The close call will leave a more lasting impact on the asteroid itself, NASA's number-crunchers said.

Earth's gravity will affect the object's orbit, lengthening the amount of time it takes for 2023 BU to go around the Sun, from 359 days to a more leisurely 425 days.

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First Published Date: 28 Jan, 08:01 IST
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