Asteroid 2006 QQ23 is scheduled to zoom by Earth on August 10 and, at an estimated diameter of as much as 570m, it is simple to see why persons are anxious.
However Lindley Johnson and Kelly Quick of NASA’s Planetary Defence Coordination Workplace say there’s nothing to concern. Each Johnson and Quick assist observe what they label as “close to Earth objects,” corresponding to asteroids and comets that orbit our solar together with the opposite planets.
Monitoring these objects is especially a defence mechanism, to make sure none are wherever near hitting Earth.
And, so far as Asteroid 2006 QQ23 goes, Johnson mentioned it is a moderate-sized asteroid, and it is practically eight million km away. It is “roughly benign,” he mentioned.
Asteroids round this measurement go by Earth a couple of half dozen occasions a 12 months, Johnson mentioned. Asteroid 2006 QQ23 is lower than a kilometre lengthy, however the greatest recognized asteroid that orbits our solar is about 33km lengthy, although asteroids of that measurement are uncommon.
There are practically 900 asteroids in our photo voltaic system larger than Asteroid 2006 QQ23 NASA’s Close to Earth Object Observations Program, of which each Johnson and Quick are an element, has catalogued practically 900 asteroids round Earth which have a diameter of greater than 1km.
As asteroids lower in measurement, they turn into extra frequent, however our environment usually burns the smaller ones out. That does not imply they cannot do some harm, although. In 2013, a meteor 17m in diameter broke by way of the Earth’s environment over Russia. Although there wasn’t an affect, the blast nonetheless injured greater than 1000 folks.
If one thing the dimensions of Asteroid 2006 QQ23 hit Earth, it may very well be devastating
However affect is uncommon, occurring possibly as soon as each two or three centuries, in accordance with Johnson. And NASA does have the expertise to search out these asteroids and observe when they may go intently by Earth. They’ve tracked Asteroid 2006 QQ23’s orbit information starting in 1901 all the best way to 2200, for instance.
If, nonetheless, an asteroid was coming towards Earth that posed a risk and the company had sufficient warning and functionality, NASA would launch an area marketing campaign to deflect the asteroid onto a special path.
Quick mentioned the group hasn’t discovered something thus far that has a major likelihood of hitting Earth, however there could also be asteroids within the system that the group hasn’t discovered and catalogued but.
“It is those we do not learn about that we’re involved about,” she mentioned.