Speeding asteroid to come as close as the Moon! NASA outs flyby details | Tech News

Speeding asteroid to come as close as the Moon! NASA outs flyby details

Although asteroids pass by at a safe distance, one visiting space rock could come as close to Earth as the Moon, NASA has revealed.

| Updated on: Jan 26 2023, 15:47 IST
Top astronomy photos of the week by NASA: Galaxy wars, Nebula, Moon to Sun, check them out
1/7 On January 14, NASA released an image of Perihelion Sun 2023, the image was taken after January 4, at the Earth's closest approach to the Sun. It was taken less than 24 hours after the earth's close approach. (Peter Ward (Barden Ridge Observatory))
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2/7 On January 15, another photograph was released of The Crab Nebula snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Crab Nebula, the result of a supernova seen in 1054 AD, is filled with mysterious filaments. ( NASA, ESA, Hubble, J. Hester, A. Loll (ASU))
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3/7 On January 16, NASA released an image of Moon Enhanced. The featured image is a composite of multiple images enhanced to bring up real surface features. The dark areas in the image, called maria, have fewer craters and were once seas of molten lava. Additionally, the image colours, although based on the moon's real composition, are changed, and exaggerated. (Darya Kawa Mirza)
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4/7 On January 17, the image of unexpected clouds toward the Andromeda Galaxy was released. (Yann Sainty & Marcel Drechsler)
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5/7 Image of MACS0647: Gravitational Lensing of the Early Universe Captured by James Webb Space Telescope was released by NASA on January 18. ( NASA, ESA, CSA, Dan Coe (STScI), Rebecca Larson (UT), Yu-Yang Hsiao (JHU); Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI); Text: Michael Rutkowski (Minn. St. U. Mankato))
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6/7 On January 19, the image of The Seagull Nebula was released. The complex of gas and dust clouds with other stars of the Canis Majoris OB1 association spans over 200 light-years. (Carlos Taylor)
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7/7 Galaxy Wars: M81 and M82, this image was released on January 20. On the right, with grand spiral arms and bright yellow core is spiral galaxy M81.  (Andreas Aufschnaiter)
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Asteroid 2023 BL2 is heading for the planet at a fearsome speed, as per NASA. (DALL-E)

NASA has a Near-Earth Objects (NEO) Observations Program to find, track, and characterize at least 90 percent of the predicted NEOs that are 140 meters and larger in size in the sky. Another organization called Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) accurately characterizes the orbits of all known near-Earth objects and predicts their close approaches to Earth. Both these organizations have issued an alert against an asteroid which will pass by Earth today. Although asteroid flybys are not uncommon, this asteroid is particularly special due to the extremely close distance of approach. Here's what NASA has revealed about Asteroid 2023 BL2.

Asteroid 2023 BL2 details

NASA has warned that the asteroid, named Asteroid 2023 BL2, will make its closest approach to Earth today, January 26, at a distance of just 370,777 kilometers! For reference, the Moon is nearly 320,000 kilometers away from Earth.

That means this asteroid will pass Earth at a distance that is nearly the same as the Moon! It will be one of the closest asteroid approaches we've had all year. In fact, the asteroid is already travelling towards Earth at a blistering speed of 37951 kilometers per hour.

Even if the asteroid heads straight for Earth, it is likely to burn up in the atmosphere itself due to its particularly small size. It is just 19 feet wide, making it just as big as a car.

Destruction of asteroid to be a herculean task?

In case asteroids ever came for Earth impact, NASA has a planetary defense plan in place to deflect them by smashing a spacecraft into the space rock. However, if that is not successful, then the destruction of the asteroid might not be an easy feat, according to a recent study.

Published by EurekAlert, the study has been conducted by an international team of researchers led by the Curtin University in Australia of three dust particles collected from the surface of 500-meter asteroid named, Itokawa, returned to Earth by the Japanese Space Agency's Hayabusa 1 probe. It was revealed that Itokawa was hard to destroy and resistant to collision. Reason being it was like hitting a sponge with a bat because it belonged to the rubble pile family, meaning it is made of loose boulders and rocks rather than one amalgamated piece.

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First Published Date: 26 Jan, 15:20 IST