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June 25, 2024

Asteroid the Size of Football Field Approaching Earth at Breakneck Speed

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Jan 16, 2024

NASA has detected a massive asteroid hurtling towards Earth today at an extremely high speed. The asteroid, named 2023 WZ3, is estimated to be around 110 feet (35 meters) wide – comparable to the size of a football field.

Asteroid Classification and Detection

The asteroid has been classified by NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) as a potentially hazardous asteroid. This means it is large enough to cause significant regional damage if it impacts Earth. asteroid image

CNEOS tracks Near Earth Objects (NEOs) using a network of telescopes and satellites. Asteroid 2023 WZ3 was first spotted on January 13 by the Mt. Lemmon Survey telescope in Arizona. Further observations have allowed NASA scientists to plot its trajectory and determine that it will make an extremely close approach to Earth later today.

Asteroid 2023 WZ3 Trajectory and Approach

As per NASA’s latest updates, asteroid 2023 WZ3 is traveling at an astonishing speed of 38,000 km per hour or 10.5 km per second. This is over 5 times the speed that most asteroids encounter Earth.

The space rock will zoom past Earth today (January 16) at a distance of about 3,618 km from the planet’s surface. To put into perspective how uncomfortably close this is – geostationary satellites orbit at almost 36,000 km above Earth’s surface!

At its closest approach, 2023 WZ3 will hurtle over the South Pacific Ocean at 04:17 pm EST (02:47 am IST). Residents of South America will be able to spot the asteroid briefly as a tiny dot of light dashing across the sky.

Asteroid 2023 WZ3 Details
Size 110 feet (35 meters)
Speed 38,000 km/hr
Closest Approach 3,618 km
Date & Time January 16, 04:17 pm EST

No Chance of Impact

Fortunately, NASA has confirmed there is zero chance the asteroid will actually hit Earth. If it did enter the atmosphere, the space rock would completely burn up high in the sky due to friction with air particles.

Small meteorites may reach the ground, but would be too tiny to cause any real damage. Citizens in South America will be treated to an impressive cosmic fireworks display as 2023 WZ3 gets torn apart.

CNEOS scientists have plotted the asteroid’s trajectory far into the future. Their orbital calculations show that 2023 WZ3 also won’t impact Earth for at least the next 200 years.

Multiple Close Asteroid Approaches

Asteroid 2023 WZ3 is just one of five NEOs tracked by NASA this month that are making close approaches. The other asteroids are much smaller, ranging from just 13 to 85 feet wide.

While 2023 WZ3 will provide the most dramatic flyby, an 85-foot asteroid designated 2024 AS1 will pass by Earth tomorrow (January 17) at a distance of 2.2 million miles. This is over 9 times further than the Moon, so there is no danger whatsoever.

Upcoming Close Asteroid Approaches
2023 WZ3 110 feet, passes Jan 16
2024 AS1 85 feet, passes Jan 17
2023 XN13 65 feet, passes Jan 18
Apollo 63 feet, passes Jan 22
2015 AK1 13 feet, passes Feb 10

Conclusion

Asteroid detection technology has advanced tremendously, allowing NASA to continually scan the cosmos and provide warnings about space rocks that come too close for comfort.

While none of these asteroids pose an actual impact threat, their proximity serves as an important reminder. Someday a larger asteroid could be on a collision course with Earth. Expanding planetary defense systems is crucial to map the locations of all potentially hazardous NEOs out there.

Whenever a new concerning asteroid does get discovered, NASA will be ready to inform key global space agencies. With sufficient warning time, humankind may one day have to launch missions to deflect an incoming NEO. For now, agencies remain on high alert while civilians can marvel at the latest close shave!

AiBot

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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