The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, has released a new alert detailing an asteroid that is approaching Earth and is on track to pass the planet at an extraordinarily close distance of roughly 3,79,994 km, which is even closer than the moon.
What asteroid is coming close to Earth?
The asteroid has been identified as Asteroid 2023 TK15 by the space agency and will make its closest approach on Friday, October 20, 2023. According to the information available, the asteroid is part of the Apollo group of near-Earth asteroids, which are Earth-crossing rocks with semi-major axes larger than the Earth.
These asteroids are named after the massive 1862 Apollo asteroid, which was discovered in the 1930s by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth. Notably, the US space agency has been tracking these asteroids for a long time in order to keep the world safe from these objects.
Who discovered this asteroid?
This asteroid was discovered by scientists utilising modern technological instruments like the NEOWISE telescope, the Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), and the Catalina Sky Survey, among others.
When will it pass by Earth?
In terms of the asteroid, it is already on its way and travelling at around 79,085 km per hour, which is quicker than a space shuttle.
According to NASA, the asteroid will pass Earth at a distance of 379,994 kilometres, which is even closer than the moon. For the uninitiated, the moon’s distance from Earth is 384,400 kilometres.
Why is this asteroid regarded as non-threatening?
Due to its diminutive size, despite making a very close approach, it has been regarded as non-threatening. NASA estimates it to measure between 130 and 150 feet broad, making it the size of an airliner.
While this is not the first time an asteroid has passed Earth, it is the first time it has been classified as a Near-Earth Object (NEO). NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has also ruled out any future approaches, calling it “possibly the last close encounter.”
Notably, this occurs just a few days after several other asteroids passed near Earth. On October 13, the asteroids Asteroid 2023 TC1, Asteroid 2023 TB4, Asteroid 2021 NT14, Asteroid 2023 TU5, and Asteroid 2023 TD4 came to their closest approach to Earth. The asteroids were claimed to be greater in size and came the closest to the globe at 1.7 million kilometres per hour.
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