Asteroids approaching Earth always make headlines because a collision with one could result in a massive disaster for human life. Recently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory noted that Earth will have some relatively close encounters with asteroids in the coming days. Five asteroids will approach our planet, with two of them making their closest approaches to Earth today, according to NASA.
Notably, NASA’s Asteroid Watch dashboard tracks asteroids and comets that will make relatively close approaches to Earth. The dashboard displays the date of closest approach, approximate object diameter, relative size and distance from Earth for each encounter.
Here are the next asteroid approaches:
Asteroid 2023 FU6: A small 45-foot asteroid is making its closest approach to Earth today at a distance of 1,870,000 km.
Asteroid 2023 FS11: The 82-foot aeroplane-sized asteroid will fly past Earth by a close margin of 6,610,000 km today.
Asteroid 2023 FA7: A 92-foot asteroid the size of an aeroplane will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 2,250,000 km on April 4.
Asteroid 2023 FQ7: On April 5, a 65-foot house-sized asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 5,750,000 km.
Asteroid 2023 FZ3: The largest asteroid among the next upcoming asteroids, which is the size of an aeroplane is projected to pass by Earth on April 6. The 150-foot-wide rock which is hurtling towards Earth at a speed of 67656 kmph will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 4,190,000 km. However, the asteroid is not a potentially hazardous threat to Earth.
Some 30,000 asteroids of all sizes — including more than 850 larger than a kilometre wide — have been catalogued in the vicinity of the Earth, earning them the label “Near Earth Objects” (NEOs). None of them threatens the Earth for the next 100 years.
According to NASA, asteroids are left over from the formation of our solar system. Our solar system began about 4.6 billion years ago when a big cloud of gas and dust collapsed. When this happened, most of the material fell to the centre of the cloud and formed the sun. Some of the condensing dust in the cloud became planets.
Recently, NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office said that a newly discovered asteroid roughly the size of an Olympic swimming pool has a “small chance” of colliding with Earth on Valentine’s Day 23 years from now.