An asteroid is expected to come as close to Earth as The Moon.
By Kevin C. Neece | Updated
The path of an asteroid is about as close to Earth as the orbit of our Moon. Although some consider a collision with an asteroid more likely and more dangerous than we think, scientists are certain that it will pass us by. Even if the objects were closer to us than this one, they would probably burn up in our atmosphere in a spectacular fire.
Count Newsweek report, the asteroid is considered a NEO (Near Earth Object) and will pass our planet on Wednesday with extraordinary proximity, about 1.1 distance to the moon. That means that when it is closest to us, it will be 1.1 times farther than the Moon’s orbit. For more precise numbers, but perhaps a little less relevant perspective, the Moon is 238,900 miles away, and the asteroid will zi-zip closer at about 262,790 miles.
Classifying this asteroid as a NEO means it will come within 30 million miles of us, a designation NASA has given so far to about 31,000 objects. At just 42 feet across, the object—known as 2023 HV5—isn’t large enough for the space agency’s sub-classification of “potentially hazardous,” which simply means that an object’s path could impact Earth in centuries to come.
If it were larger—say, the size of a skyscraper—it might pose more of a threat, but the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA estimates its probability for a collision at 0.00024.
Although yesterday’s Star Wars Day had us thinking, “Never tell us the odds,” we were actually quite relieved to learn that particular numerical fact. So far, only 2,300 potentially dangerous objects have been detected. To qualify for this designation, an object must be expected to come within 4.6 million miles of Earth and have a diameter greater than 460 feet.
Asteroid 2023 HV5 is within the potentially hazardous range but not nearly large enough to pose a threat.
An asteroid swarm is an even scarier scenario, though that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Plus, scientists have more tools at their disposal now than ever before to identify and even deflect anything that might pose a threat to the planet. For example, the recent DART The (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission successfully changed the course of an asteroid by dropping a satellite on top of it, making us all feel safer.
That asteroid, named Dimorphos, was orbiting its parent asteroid, Didymos, at a speed of 11 hours and 55 minutes before NASA intervened with the DART effect, which reduced the orbit time by 32 minutes , bringing it down to 11 hours and 23 minutes. This is more than 25 times the minimum test benchmark, making the project a huge success. Changing the course of those things is our best bet at preventing disaster, because destroying them just creates a lot of smaller things that, as we mentioned, can pose a bigger threat. .
It’s easy to imagine an asteroid smashing into our planet and causing great chaos, as it probably did at least once in our distant past, but with new tracking and deflection technologies, we’ll not only have a better idea of the current situation regarding NEOs. , but a better chance to handle potentially dangerous ones in the future.
While that future is probably quite far off, space scientists are thinking long term because experimentation, research, and development take years. They not only want to be prepared now, but also help protect our planet for future generations.