140-foot asteroid set for a close call with Earth, reveals NASA

Did you know that artificial intelligence (AI) is aiding in the discovery and study of asteroids? After aiding various industries across sectors such as education, healthcare, engineering and more, AI could also potentially help protect Earth against asteroids. According to a study published by the University of Washington, an algorithm, named HelioLinc3D, helped researchers discover a potentially hazardous asteroid. Asteroid 2022 SF289, which is almost 600 feet wide, was discovered during the algorithm’s test in Hawaii and has not been deemed as dangerous in the foreseeable future.

In a separate development, NASA has shed light on an asteroid that is set to make its closest approach to Earth today.

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Asteroid 2023 TL

As many as 1298148 asteroids have been discovered to date, and Asteroid 2023 TL is one of them. NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has designated this space rock as Asteroid 2023 TL, and it will make its closest approach to Earth today, October 9. During its approach, it will come as close as 3.1 million kilometers from the planet’s surface. It is hurtling towards Earth at a staggering speed of 50124 kilometers per hour!

According to NASA, this asteroid is not big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. A celestial body has to be around 492 feet wide and pass Earth at a distance closer than 7.5 million kilometers to be considered a Potentially Hazardous Object. On the other hand, Asteroid 2023 TL is nearly 140 feet wide, making it as big as an aircraft.

Asteroid 2023 TL 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 TL’s first-ever close approach to Earth in history. According to NASA, it is not expected to pass by the planet anytime soon in the near future.

Asteroids used to tackle climate change

We know that asteroids have the potential to cause major damage, and even wipe out life on Earth. On the other hand, these space rocks can also provide us with valuable resources such as water, metals, and other minerals. Scientists study asteroids to learn more about the early solar system and the conditions that existed when the planets were forming. But now, a method has been devised to protect Earth from the Sun’s intense rays, in a bid to mitigate climate change. This move, ideated by astronomer Istvan Szapudi, from the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy, proposes a space-based solar radiation management (SRM) shield or shade that is tethered to an asteroid as a counterweight.

The asteroid’s weight would reduce the weight of the solar umbrella, and could potentially reduce solar radiation by 1.7 percent.

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