Although asteroids make close approaches to Earth almost every day, most of them are not big enough to potentially wipe out life on the planet. In fact, an asteroid with a diameter of around 96 kilometers (about half the distance from Washington, D.C. to New York City) can actually completely extinguish life on Earth, but smaller asteroids can still cause harm. Despite being much smaller than that, NASA has issued a warning that a 350-foot wide asteroid is expected to make its closest approach to Earth today.
Asteroid 2023 GM information
Scientists are intrigued by Asteroid 2023 GM, due to its colossal size. According to NASA, the asteroid is estimated to be roughly 350 feet wide, which is comparable in size to a towering skyscraper. Given its enormity, if Asteroid 2023 GM were to collide with the planet, it could cause immense destruction, particularly if it landed in a densely populated region.
As per the space agency, Asteroid 2023 GM is set to reach its nearest distance to Earth today, April 17, at a distance of 3.2 million kilometers. While this distance may seem considerable, it’s relatively minor in terms of astronomical measurements, considering the massive size of the asteroid.
In fact, Asteroid 2023 GM is already dashing towards Earth, at a fiery speed of 72312 kilometers per hour!
NASA tech used to study asteroids
NASA not only uses its space telescopes and observatories like the NEOWISE to observe and study distant asteroids, but also a variety of ground-based telescopes such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) located in the Antofagasta Region of the Atacama Desert in Chile.
NASA also has a new impact monitoring system in place which uses an algorithm called Sentry-II to calculate the impact risk of Near-Earth Objects. NASA can track the orbital path of the asteroid using this infrared data and can even predict its orbit years into the future. As of now, nearly 28,000 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered using various tech instruments which track objects in the sky.