Statue of Unity-sized asteroid to pass Earth today, reveals NASA

NASA has revealed details of a close encounter with an asteroid that is nearly 620 feet wide! Know its speed, distance of approach, and more.

| Updated on: Oct 30 2023, 08:15 IST
Asteroid 2004 UU1
Asteroid 2004 UU1 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (NASA JPL)
Asteroid 2004 UU1
Asteroid 2004 UU1 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (NASA JPL)

There have been several close calls with asteroids in history. But did you know that not all asteroids have the same composition? According to NASA, the three primary classifications of asteroids are C-type, S-type, and M-type. C-type asteroids, which are composed primarily of carbon-rich substances, are the most frequent. S-type asteroids, which are made up mainly of silicate minerals, are less common. M-type asteroids, which are primarily composed of metal, are the least prevalent. One rare asteroid has recently piqued the interest of scientists as it is reportedly made of gold, silver and nickel deposits!

In a new development, NASA, using its advanced space and ground-based telescopes, has revealed that an asteroid is set to pass Earth today. Know all about its close approach.

Asteroid 2004 UU1: Speed, size, distance, and more

An asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2004 UU1, is on its way towards Earth and could pass the planet today, October 30. As per the details, Asteroid 2004 UU1 is expected to pass Earth at a distance of approximately 4 million kilometers. It is already travelling towards Earth in its orbit at 62739 kilometers per hour which is almost as fast as a space shuttle!

This space rock 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.

According to NASA, this asteroid was discovered on October 23, 2004, by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project. Despite its discovery in the 21st century, the asteroid made its first-ever close approach to Earth on May 9, 1909, at a distance of about 34 million kilometers. After today, it will come close to the planet on November 17, 2027, when it will pass by at a distance of approximately 66 million kilometers.

How big is it?

Asteroid 2004 UU1 is almost 620 feet wide and is even bigger than the Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world! Due to this big size, it has been declared as a Potentially Hazardous Object. For the unaware, only celestial bodies bigger than 492 feet and which pass Earth closer than 7.5 million kilometers are classified as such.

Due to such close calls, NASA, ESA, and other space agencies have developed technology to track asteroids in their orbits, and even deflect them in case a potential impact scenario develops.

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First Published Date: 30 Oct, 08:15 IST