An asteroid, designated as Asteroid 2023 RV9 by NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), will make its closest approach to Earth today, September 18. The space agency uses its suite of highly advanced ground and space-based telescopes to discover and track asteroids in the sky. With their help, NASA has revealed that this asteroid will pass Earth at a distance of about 3.8 million kilometers. It is dashing towards Earth at a fearsome speed of 25872 kilometers per hour.
Asteroid 2023 RV9 details
While this asteroid is traveling at a shockingly fast speed, it is not large enough to cause catastrophic damage to Earth. With a width of between 98 feet and 223 feet, it can be compared to a huge aircraft! According to NASA, this space rock belongs to the Amor group of Near-Earth Asteroids which are near-Earth asteroids with orbits exterior to Earth but interior to Mars’, named after asteroid 1221 Amor, which was discovered by Belgian astronomer E. Delporte in 1932.
Shockingly, this will be Asteroid 2023 RV9’s first-ever close approach to Earth in history, although it has passed the planet before, albeit at a much farther distance on November 1, 1985. As per NASA’s Small-Body Database Lookup, it is not expected to make any further close approach in the near future.
Could ISRO launch its own Psyche mission?
NASA is gearing up for the launch of the Psyche mission from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on October 5. The orbiter, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, will make its journey to an asteroid known as 16 Psyche, which is made up of gold, nickel, and iron deposits. Other than its gold-rich structure, the outer surface of this asteroid is nickel-rich which resembles an early planet’s core. It is worth nearly $10 quadrillion, and this is why NASA has planned a mission to this asteroid to study its composition.
So, could a similar mission be on the cards for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) which recently created history with its Chandrayaan-3 mission?
According to the agency’s chairman S. Somanath, In a conversation with the Hindu Business Line, “It needs space robotics of high level, mission management, and ground infrastructure expansion, many trial missions for sample returns, for validation.”