Statue of Unity-sized asteroid to have a close encounter with Earth! NASA reveals details

Asteroid 2023 HO6, which is nearly the size of the famous Statue of Unity, is expected to make its closest approach to Earth in the coming days. Know details, as per NASA.

| Updated on: Jul 03 2023, 08:00 IST
Asteroid 2023 HO6 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 HO6 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

Did you know that an asteroid could be worth more than the whole Earth's economy put together? No, this isn't the plot of some heist film but a reality! According to NASA, the 16 Psyche asteroid, which is one of the biggest asteroids in our Solar System, is made up of gold, nickel, and iron deposits and is supposedly worth more than Earth's economy. It is worth a staggering $10 quadrillion! Other than its gold-rich structure, the outer surface of this asteroid is nickel-rich which resembles an early planet's core. This gives scientists a chance to study how terrestrial planets were formed, without having to carve up the Earth.

Apart from the 16 Psyche asteroid, another space rock has intrigued scientists but for a completely different reason altogether. NASA has issued a warning against Asteroid 2023 HO6 which will make its closest approach to Earth soon.

Asteroid 2023 HO6

NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has designated this space rock as Asteroid 2023 HO6. It is one of 1,298,148 asteroids that are currently known and observed. Asteroid 2023 HO6 will make its closest approach to Earth on 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.

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. 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.

Is Asteroid 2023 HO6 dangerous?

One of the primary concerns about this asteroid is its humongous size. With a width of nearly 570 feet, it is almost the size of a skyscraper. In fact, Asteroid 2023 HO6 is about the size of the Statue of Unity, which is the world's tallest statue!

While the asteroid is not a planet killer, such a large asteroid still has the potential to cause severe damage. It is bigger than the carbonaceous asteroid which crashed on Earth on June 30, 1908, in Yeniseysk Governorate, Russia which resulted in a 12-megaton explosion. This incident is now famously known as the Tunguska event.

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First Published Date: 03 Jul, 08:00 IST
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