Space is a hostile place. It is filled with multitudes of gigantic and high-speed celestial bodies moving in random directions. And some of them pose a direct threat to the Earth. Just a couple of days ago, an asteroid exploded over the skies in Montana, US. This is why space agencies such as NASA have doubled down on planetary defense measures. Last year, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission was conducted successfully and now, NASA has begun construction of the Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor space telescope which will scan the inner solar system in the infrared spectrum to look for any potentially dangerous asteroids. And now, NASA reveals that a mammoth 226-foot wide asteroid is going to make a close approach to our planet from a dangerously close distance. The risk is, if it gets trapped by the Earth’s gravitational pull, there could be a huge disaster.
Big asteroid headed for the Earth today
NASA reports on the asteroid have given us significant information on what to expect. The asteroid is named 2023 CC1 and it was first spotted on January 25 of this year, as per Small-Body database. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) website tells us that the asteroid is going to come as close as 5.7 million kilometers to the Earth. While this might seem like a huge distance to some, the Center for Near Earth Objects Studies (CNEOS) data might shock you. According to them, the asteroid is traveling at a mind-numbing speed of 43,776 kilometers per hour!
However, the current NASA prediction states that the asteroid will likely make a safe passage across the planet. Yet, for precautionary reasons, the asteroid is being monitored by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) telescope. This tech marvel is a space telescope that has been tasked with monitoring all nearby space rocks in the inner circle of the solar system.
Know the NEOWISE telescope
It is very interesting to understand how this tech actually works. Ever since NASA became aware of the risk of the near-Earth objects (NEO), it has dedicated itself to track and monitor as many space rocks in the inner circle of the solar system as possible. Using the prowess of JPL and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope, the US space agency collects data for over 20,000 asteroids.