Asteroid As Big As An Aircraft To Pass Earth Today; What You Need To Know

Last Updated: March 18, 2024, 15:13 IST

NASA revealed a 140-foot asteroid will pass very close to Earth.

NASA revealed a 140-foot asteroid will pass very close to Earth.

Four asteroids are slated to pass by Earth on March 18, one of which is approximately as big as an aircraft.

Asteroids and meteoroids often pass around Earth following the interaction with the gravitational influence of large planets like Jupiter that hurl them around space. Occasionally, Earth’s gravitational force may draw asteroids towards it, although the risk of them entering the atmosphere is usually minimal.

Nonetheless, when an asteroid comes close to our planet, it tends to spark excitement among space enthusiasts. Recently, NASA revealed that four asteroids are expected to pass by Earth on March 18. These asteroids are named 2024 EN, 2020 ED3, 2020 FD and 2024 EN3. They are being monitored by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies or CNEOS.

CNEOS is tasked with monitoring the skies and watching celestial objects such as asteroids and comets, which are known as Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). HT Tech reported that as per NASA, Asteroid 2024, EN can make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 1.49 million kilometres. Currently, it is moving at a fast speed of 43,104 kilometres per hour. The Asteroid 2024 EN is the size of an aircraft and about 140 feet wide. It is biggest of the all four asteroids that will pass close by Earth today.

The Asteroid 2024 EN belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids. These are Earth-crossing space rocks with “semi-major axes larger than Earth’s”. These asteroids are named after the massive 1862 Apollo asteroid, which was discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s. Even though these asteroids will come close to Earth, they are not likely to hit the surface or cause loss of life or property.

Earlier this year, there were many rumours about a 54-million-ton asteroid named 2007 FT3 hitting the Earth in October. NASA issued a statement that denied the possibility of a space rock annihilating the planet and said, “There are no known asteroid impact threats to Earth at any time in the next century. NASA and its partners diligently watch the skies to find, track, and categorise asteroids and near-Earth objects (NEOs), including those that may come close to Earth.” The space research agency clarified that planetary scientists define asteroids that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit as “close approaches”, but these all “close approaches” do not mean they will hit the Earth.

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