This asteroid actually crashed against Earth and changed space science forever | Tech News

This asteroid actually crashed against Earth and changed space science forever

The Chelyabinsk Event occurred a decade ago, and the asteroid's explosion was a wake-up call for Earth and all the space agencies.

By: SHAURYA TOMER
| Updated on: Feb 17 2023, 14:54 IST
NASA: 5 asteroids, including 226-foot Asteroid 2023 CC1, to buzz Earth
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1/5 Asteroid 2023 CA3 – NASA has red-flagged an asteroid named Asteroid 2023 CA3 due to its extremely close approach to the planet. The asteroid, with a width between 32 feet and 75 feet, will make its closest approach to Earth today, February 17 at a distance of 2.2 million kilometers and is already on its way travelling at a speed of nearly 44751 kilometers per hour, which is multiple times faster than the speed of a hypersonic ballistic missile!   (NASA)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 CY1 - NASA has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2023 CY1. This terrifying asteroid is expected to come extremely close to Earth today, February 17. Its distance of close approach will be just 1.7 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 23967 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 CW2 – This small asteroid, with width between 11 feet and 24 feet, will make its close trip to Earth today, February 17, at a distance of just 622,037 kilometers. The asteroid, known as Asteroid 2023 CW2, is already rushing towards Earth, travelling at a speed slower than other asteroids, at 8112 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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4/5 Asteroid 2020 DG4 – Another asteroid named Asteroid 2020 DG4 is heading for Earth and will make a close approach today, February 17. This asteroid, with a size between 20 feet and 45 feet, is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 24913 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at an extremely close distance of just 552,381 kilometers.  (Wikimedia Commons)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 CC1 – The fifth asteroid, with a size ranging between 101 feet and 226 feet, is named Asteroid 2023 CC1 and will be making its closest Earth approach tomorrow, February 18. It will come as close as 552,381 kilometers, according to NASA JPL. The asteroid is moving at a blistering speed of 43779 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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The asteroid which exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk, caused huge damage. (Pixabay)

Asteroids often make close approaches to Earth, and they mostly do so without causing any harm. However, there is no guarantee that an asteroid will not hit Earth in the future. If history has taught us anything, nothing in life is certain. That turned out to be true, especially for people of Russia as an asteroid strike on Earth was reported in the city of Chelyabinsk on February 15, 2013. It recorded a 59-foot asteroid exploding over the city which left nearly 8000 buildings damaged and over 1000 people injured.

However, this wasn't the only asteroid strike in history, which had a devastating effect on Earth. Another asteroid event in recent recorded history happened in 1908, when a 196 feet wide asteroid exploded near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Eastern Siberia, Russia. Known as the Tunguska event, it had flattened 2150 square kilometers (about half the area of Rhode Island) of forests. Horrifically, it had killed as many as 80 million trees.

So, when the asteroid over the city of Chelyabinsk exploded, it caused the space rock to break down into small rocks which rained on the city. Glass shards from broken windows caused by the shock wave injured people and others reported eye damage. The Chelyabinsk event not only caused millions in damage, but it was a wake-up call too.

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The event changed everything. It became a pivotal moment for humans to recognize the terrifying threat that floated above them. It showed the need for better study and tracking of asteroids and other celestial objects and led to the formation of various organizations which monitor Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) for potential impact.

Organization for asteroid study

NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies was set up which computes high-precision orbit paths for NEOs from positions reported to the Minor Planet Center. CNEOS computes orbits for new asteroid discoveries and performs long-term analyses of possible future positions of hazardous asteroids relative to Earth to determine and warn of any impact hazard, according to NASA. CNEOS computes impact time and location in the event of a predicted impact.

To protect Earth against rogue asteroids which head towards Earth for potential impact, NASA successfully carried out its first planetary defense test. Named the Double Asteroid Detection Test or DART test, the mission's aim was to smash a spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid to deflect it away from its path. This historic test was successful, and the asteroid was deflected from its path, making the planet safe from potential asteroid impacts.

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First Published Date: 17 Feb, 14:47 IST
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