NASA is on a continuous mission to track and study asteroids especially the ones that come too close to the Earth for comfort. The US space agency goes to considerable lengths to increase its knowledge about the space rocks. The most recent case being the retrieval of an asteroid sample from a spacecraft it had sent out to collect it. It achieved this significant milestone yesterday by successfully retrieving the space capsule containing the samples from Asteroid Bennu. These precious samples were collected by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft in 2020 and the craft came back now. This marked NASA’s inaugural attempt and triumph in acquiring samples from an asteroid.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft followed an extensive journey spanning over 4 billion miles to reach Asteroid Bennu and subsequently return to Earth. It executed the release of its sample return capsule on 24 September. Within this capsule, there lies approximately 250 grams of rocks and assorted materials retrieved from Bennu. This valuable sample can provide crucial insights into fundamental questions regarding the origins of life on Earth and the early phases of our solar system.
NASA keeps track of other asteroids that visit Earth. Most recently it has tracked an asteroid designated as 2023 SO5 that will approach Earth tomorrow. Read here to learn more about this newly found asteroid:
Asteroid 2023 SO5
This asteroid designated as 2023 SO5 was first observed byNASA on September 22. This asteroid is as big as the size of a Boeing 777, with a width of 74 Feet. Its closest approach to Earth is estimated to be 4.96 million kilometers. It is expected to pay a close visit to Earth on September 26. According to the data provided by NASA, the relative velocity of this asteroid is about 60364 kilometers per hour.
Will it pose any threat?
Asteroid 2023 SO5 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids which is considered to be a potentially hazardous asteroid family. The Apollo asteroids, a cluster of near-Earth asteroids, derive their name from the discovery of the 1862 Apollo by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth during the 1930s.
One notable instance of an Apollo-class asteroid is the Chelyabinsk meteor, which detonated over Chelyabinsk in Russia’s southern Urals region in February 2013. This event caused injuries to over 1000 individuals due to flying glass from shattered windows.
However, the size of this approaching asteroid is quite small, so it may not be considered as a hazardous asteroid. NASA dubs asteroids as ‘Potentially Hazardous’ if they come within 7.5 million kilometers of Earth and have a size bigger than 150 meters.
One more thing! We are now on WhatsApp Channels! Follow us there so you never miss any updates from the world of technology. To follow the HT Tech channel on WhatsApp, click here to join now!