There have been many asteroid impacts in Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history, but some of them are distinct. One of the earliest asteroid impacts on Earth was about 4.5 billion years old when a massive object called Theia, about the size of Mars, collided with Earth and resulted in the formation of the Moon. Another asteroid crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico about 65 million years ago, and it wiped out the dinosaurs. The most recent asteroid impact occurred just over a decade ago when an asteroid exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in 2013. The largest asteroid to hit Earth was about 2 billion years ago.
The increasing number of asteroids passing close to Earth has made it imperative for space agencies like NASA and the ESA to constantly monitor them, and another one is set to fly by Earth today. Know here the details of the asteroid.
Asteroid 2023 KX Description
As per the details revealed by NASA, an asteroid, identified as asteroid 2023 KX, is inching closer to Earth, traveling at a speed of 57350 kmph. It will make its closest approach to Earth today, May 26, at a distance of 6.1 million kilometres.
It belongs to the Amor group of near-Earth asteroids, which are near-Earth asteroids whose orbits are outside Earth’s but inner to Mars, named after the asteroid 1221 Amor.
In terms of size, NASA estimates it to be about 75 feet across and 167 feet wide, which makes it almost as big as an aircraft! Although NASA scientists estimate that an asteroid would have to be about 96 km wide to completely wipe out life on Earth, even smaller asteroids like asteroid 2023 KX have the potential to cause some degree of damage. For example, the asteroid that exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk was just 59 feet wide. When it erupted, it damaged about 8000 buildings and injured more than 1000 people.
NASA’s DART test
In recent years, efforts have been made to track and study asteroids that could potentially threaten Earth. Last year, NASA conducted its first planetary defense test by smashing a spacecraft into an asteroid with the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) to change its course. NASA studied the asteroids Didymos and Dimorphos to better understand the potential hazard of asteroid impacts and develop techniques to deflect them. ESA’s Hera spacecraft observed the aftermath of the collision and reported the findings for further study.
Although no asteroids are expected to hit the planet and cause major devastation for at least the next 100 years, these close approaches allow us to continue studying and tracking asteroids to better understand and prepare for potential threats. Reminds us of the importance of
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