Asteroid alert! 180-foot space rock set for first-ever close approach to Earth, shares NASA

For millions of years, asteroids have posed a threat to Earth. Although humanity only discovered its first-ever asteroid on January 1, 1801, these ancient space rocks have time and again impacted Earth’s surface, altering the course of history. To understand asteroids better, and study the ones not located in the asteroid belt, NASA launched its Lucy mission on October 16, 2021, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is aimed at studying the Trojans, a group of asteroids that orbit the Sun in two groups, according to NASA. It is built to seek out trojan asteroids millions of kilometers from Earth. Recently, the spacecraft caught a glimpse of its first Trojan asteroid, Dinikinesh, which is about half a kilometer wide.

With the help of similar space and ground-based telescopes and other advanced technological instruments, NASA has revealed that another asteroid is dashing towards Earth today.

Asteroid 2023 RH2 details

The asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 RH2, is already on its way towards Earth travelling at a staggering speed of 77303 kilometers per hour in its orbit around the Sun. NASA expects this asteroid to make its closest approach to Earth today, September 13, and it will pass by a distance of almost 4.3 million kilometers.

According to NASA, this asteroid is not small either. With a width of almost 180 feet, it can be compared to an aircraft! While it is not big enough to be called a planet-killer, it could still potentially cause damage, especially if it crashed in a densely populated region. This space rock belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, which are Earth-crossing space rocks with semi-major axes larger than Earth’s. These asteroids are named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.

Shockingly, this will be Asteroid 2023 RH2’s first-ever close approach to Earth in history. As per the details provided by NASA’s Small-Body Database Lookup, it will not make another close approach to the planet in the near future.

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