Since asteroids are an ever-present threat, apart from NASA, other organizations too are engaged in efforts to establish protocols for planetary protection against such threats. The International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) and the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) have joined hands in order to eliminate planetary threats. While IAWN is tasked with establishing protocols and developing communication plans to aid in decision-making, SMPAG is responsible for selecting the technology that is needed for the deflection of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) like asteroids and finalize the measures for planetary defense.
In the meanwhile, in a separate development, NASA, with the help of its advanced technological instruments, has issued a warning against an asteroid that is hurtling towards Earth.
Asteroid 2023 RF13: When will it pass Earth?
According to the data published by CNEOS, an asteroid designated as Asteroid 2023 RF13 is approaching Earth rapidly and is expected to make its closest approach to the planet today, September 19. During its flyby, the asteroid will come as close as 4 million kilometers to Earth. Although this distance might seem a lot, it is relatively a small number in astronomical distances.
Asteroid 2023 RF13: How fast is it going?
According to the details released by NASA, Asteroid 2023 RF13 is currently travelling towards Earth at 25787 kilometers per hour, which is multiple times faster than Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)!
Asteroid 2023 RF13: How big is it?
While Asteroid 2023 RF13 is not a planet killer, it is by no means a tiny rock. NASA estimates it to be between 82 feet and 183 feet wide, which makes it almost as big as an aircraft! According to NASA, this space rock belongs to the Amor group of Near-Earth Asteroids which are Earth-approaching 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.
World Asteroid Day
Every year, June 30 is celebrated as World Asteroid Day to spread awareness and knowledge about the dangers of asteroids and the measures required to protect Earth against their impact. But what is the significance of this date?
According to NASA, World Asteroid Day is celebrated on June 30 every year as it commemorates the Tunguska event. During this event, a carbonaceous asteroid crashed onto Earth on June 30, 1908, in Yeniseysk Governorate, Russia. The explosion decimated about 2150 square kilometers of forest and scorched the ground, resulting in a 12-megaton blast.
This event was termed the “largest cosmic event ever witnessed by humans,” by David Morrison, a planetary science researcher at the NASA Ames Research Center.