The Earth like many other planets in our solar system is subject to galactic catastrophic activities. As Earth hurtles through space, it occasionally crosses paths with asteroids, potentially posing a threat to our planet. Thanks to the diligent efforts of scientists and researchers, we know about the four large asteroids that are approaching Earth. In this article, we’ll discuss what these asteroids are, when they will arrive, and what kind of threat they pose. The White House announced a new strategy to help detect & prepare for catastrophic near-Earth object hazards.
NASA’s policy is a result of the success of its asteroid-deflecting mission, DART. During this mission, a spacecraft was used to alter the trajectory of an asteroid by ramming into it. Essentially, asteroids are space rocks that orbit the sun, and scientists can predict their movements with a high degree of accuracy due to our understanding of physics. However, it is important to note that asteroid detection is not perfect. Unfortunately, many asteroids go undetected, and NASA estimates that they are only aware of approximately 40% of the objects that could potentially wipe out a city the size of New York.
This is why NASA’s new policy is so crucial. By establishing a framework for responding to potential asteroid threats, they are taking proactive steps toward protecting Earth. With the potential danger that asteroids can pose, it is crucial to have a solid plan in place. By using the early successes of DART as a foundation, NASA is able to work towards preventing any catastrophic events caused by asteroids.
The Asteroids Heading Towards Earth
- 2008 AF4: AF4 asteroid on April 19, 2023. According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). This asteroid ranges between 0.15 and 0.34 miles in diameter, making it potentially hazardous if it were to impact Earth. The bus-sized asteroid will make relatively close approaches to Earth on Wednesday according to NASA’s Asteroid Watch Dashboard. The object will miss our planet by a safe distance of over 4.5 million miles.
- 2010 RJ53: RJ53 on May 11, 2023. The object is approximately airplane-sized and known to whizz past Earth. RJ53 is estimated to be between 0.22 and 0.49 miles in diameter. Despite being classified as potentially hazardous, the likelihood of it colliding with Earth is very low. NASA considers size and proximity a major factor when assessing the risk. Asteroids pose and are only considered a potential threat when it is larger than around 500 feet and will pass within around 4.6 million miles of Earth.
- 2008 KV2: The third asteroid on 2008 KV2. Expected to pass by Earth on June 27, 2023. According to NASA, this asteroid is between 0.4 and 0.86 miles in diameter and will come within 4.6 million miles of Earth. Although scientists classify it as potentially hazardous, they do not expect it to pose a risk to Earth at this distance.
- 2016 AJ193: Experts expect AJ193, an asteroid estimated to be between 0.29 and 0.66 miles in diameter, to make its closest approach to Earth on August 22, 2023, at a distance of 13.4 million miles. Despite being a large asteroid, it poses no threat to our planet at this distance.
While we think a massive asteroid hurtling toward Earth may be terrifying. The good news is that the asteroids known do not pose a significant threat to our planet. NASA’s continuous monitoring of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). They predict and mitigate any potential impact, so there is no need to panic. However, it’s always essential to stay informed about any developments related to asteroids and other celestial objects.