NASA says bus-sized asteroid will pass Earth by a close margin today; Know how fast it is travelling

With the help of its advanced ground and space-based telescopes, NASA has revealed that as many as four asteroids are expected to pass Earth by a close margin today, March 8. Most of these asteroids revolve around the Sun in their orbits but they can come close to the planet on certain occasions. This happens when an asteroid interacts with a large planet’s gravitational field which can send it tumbling towards the planet for potential impact. Thus, it is imperative to keep an eye on these asteroids to minimize the uncertainties around their close approaches.

Also Read: What are asteroids and how ESA is tracking them

Asteroid 2024 EJ2: Details

The asteroid has been given the designation of Asteroid 2024 EJ2 by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). It is travelling in its orbit at a breakneck speed of around 53289 kilometers per hour, which is even faster than Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)! As per the US Space Agency, this asteroid will come as close as 558,000 kilometers to Earth today, March 8.

While this asteroid will pass by closely, it isn’t big enough to cause panic or any potential damage. As per NASA, the asteroid is 61 feet wide, making it almost as big as a house! However, if it crashes on Earth, it could still cause damage to a certain degree. In 2013, a smaller 59-foot asteroid exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia, damaging 7000 buildings and injuring over 1000 people injured. This asteroid is almost triple the size of the Chelyabinsk asteroid!

Asteroid 2024 EJ2 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.

Also Read: 8 most valuable asteroids in our solar system

NASA has also revealed that Asteroid 2024 EJ2 has not passed Earth before and this will be its first-ever close approach. After today, this Apollo group asteroid is not expected to pass by the planet anytime in the near future.

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