NASA defines asteroids as ancient rocky, airless remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Through various experiments, scientists have known that while asteroids have the potential to cause catastrophic damage if they impact Earth, these objects can also become a resource hub. Space agencies keep a check on the orbits of these space rocks to avoid a potential collision scenario. They have also developed technology to track these space rocks in their orbits, and even deflect them in case a potential impact scenario develops.
Using its tech, NASA has now shed light on an asteroid that is expected to pass Earth today, February 9. Know all about this close approach.
Asteroid 2024 CJ1: Speed, size, distance, and more
As per the details issued by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the asteroid has been designated as Asteroid 2024 CJ1. This space rock is expected to pass Earth at a distance of just 367,000 kilometers today, which is closer to Earth than the Moon! It is one of the closest asteroid approaches in 2024 so far. The asteroid is already travelling towards Earth in its orbit at 27463 kilometers per hour which is comparable to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)!
Asteroid 2024 CJ1 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.
According to NASA, this is not the first time that Asteroid 2024 CJ1 has come close to Earth. It first passed the planet on January 12, 2018, at a distance of approximately 65 million kilometers. After today, it will pass the planet again this year on July 17, at a distance of 57 million kilometers.
How big is it?
NASA says Asteroid 2024 CJ1 is almost the size of a bus with a width of nearly 22 feet. However, it has been deemed non-threatening and has not been classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object, meaning that it does not pose a danger to Earth.
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