Asteroid, as big as an airplane, is approaching tomorrow, NASA says; Check speed and more | Science News

A 67-foot asteroid is approaching Earth, NASA says. Learn more about Asteroid 2024 LD here.

NASA says the asteroid is about the size of an airplane and will make its closest approach tomorrow, June 11, 2024. (NASA)

Asteroids are among the most pursued space objects by researchers and space agencies. And there are many that travel across the solar system at astonishing speeds. They have great potential for destruction, making it necessary to follow them closely. Many of them make very close approaches to Earth – too close for comfort. With the gravitational pull of other space bodies like planets and moons (which can exert pressure by pulling inward), knowing where these approaching asteroids are relative to Earth becomes more than necessary. Coming closest soon is Asteroid 2024 LD.

It’s a 67-foot asteroid, orbiting the size of a passenger plane. It will come closest to Earth on June 11 at a distance of just 2,88,000 miles. Even more, it travels at a speed of 10.68 km per second! However, there is no need to worry about the close approach this asteroid will make, as US space agency NASA expects it to fly by safely into space.

When asteroids hit Earth

Most people interested in space and related topics should know that an asteroid impact caused the extinction of the dinosaurs tens of thousands of years ago, and they should also know that these objects crash into Earth or burn up in the atmosphere on a regular basis. The remarkable feature is that these are small and do not cause damage.

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The most recent event was in January 2024 when an asteroid actually entered Earth’s atmosphere over Berlin, West Germany and lit up the sky in a stunning way. It was asteroid 2024 BX1 and it was traveling at 50,000 km/h! While the light show was stunning, it was later revealed to be the fastest-spinning asteroid researchers had ever seen. The European Space Agency’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Center in Italy. The reason why it spun is not clear, although it has been thought that it may have collided with another space object.

Notably, NASA has tested a defense mechanism to ensure Earth is protected from a collision with any large asteroid. Called the Double Asteroid Redirecton Test (DART), it involves a spacecraft hitting an asteroid and permanently changing its direction. The test was successful. It should be noted that the asteroid was not headed towards Earth, but was selected for the purposes of conducting this experiment.

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