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A Skyscraper Sized Asteroid is Set to Make a Close Pass on Earth Tomorrow

A sizable asteroid is set to make a close encounter with Earth tomorrow, but experts assure that there is no cause for concern.

The planetary radar has detected asteroid 2016 AJ193, which is classified as a near-Earth asteroid. This particular asteroid marks the 1,001st observed by the radar.
The planetary radar has detected asteroid 2016 AJ193, which is classified as a near-Earth asteroid. This particular asteroid marks the 1,001st observed by the radar. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Asteroid 2020 DB5, roughly the height of Chicago’s Willis Tower, is set to pass by Earth tomorrow. Despite its size and the term “potentially hazardous” often associated with such asteroids, it poses no threat to our planet. Potentially hazardous asteroids are regularly observed in Earth’s vicinity, and while they could cause regional damage upon impact, they do not typically pose a danger to humanity.

Near-Earth asteroids are a normal occurrence in our local solar system and are closely monitored by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) tracks the orbital paths of thousands of asteroids, comets, and other celestial objects. According to CNEOS, no asteroid larger than 460 feet (140 meters) across has a significant chance of colliding with Earth within the next century.

To ensure our preparedness for potential asteroid threats, NASA conducts missions like the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). This mission aims to test our ability to alter the trajectory of an asteroid, should a large one be on a collision course with Earth. While the recent DART mission successfully diverted the moonlet Dimorphos from its orbit, it was not on a collision course with Earth. Nevertheless, it demonstrated humanity’s capability to protect itself from similarly sized asteroids if the need arises.

Other experiments, such as the HAARP experiment, utilize radio waves to study asteroids that pass close to Earth, helping us gather valuable information for potential encounters with larger space rocks.

While 2020 DB5 is passing by this week, there are several other asteroids making their way near Earth in the coming days and months. These include 2023 LZ, the size of a house, passing within 200,000 miles of Earth today, and 2023 LW, the size of a plane, passing within 1.44 million miles on June 18. NASA’s asteroid watch program reveals that multiple near-Earth asteroids have passed closer to our planet than the Moon just in May.

The tracking and monitoring of near-Earth objects, including potentially hazardous asteroids, are an integral part of NASA’s efforts to safeguard our planet. While these asteroids capture public attention and may evoke some anxiety, the diligent work of organizations like NASA ensures that we can be informed and prepared for any potential threats.

As we continue to explore and understand our local solar system, the presence of near-Earth objects and potentially hazardous asteroids serves as a reminder of the dynamic nature of space. These celestial bodies offer opportunities for scientific study and further our knowledge of the universe. While the occasional close pass of an asteroid may capture public interest, it is important to emphasize that the vast majority of these encounters do not pose a threat to our planet.

The diligent efforts of organizations like NASA in tracking and monitoring these objects provide valuable insights into their trajectories and characteristics. This knowledge allows scientists to assess potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate any future threats. The successful missions, such as DART, demonstrate our growing ability to protect ourselves from potential asteroid impacts by redirecting their paths.

Public awareness and understanding of these near-Earth objects are crucial. By disseminating accurate information, we can dispel unnecessary alarm and foster a more informed perspective on the natural phenomena that occur in our solar system. While it is natural for some individuals to feel a sense of apprehension, it is important to focus on the scientific research and preparedness efforts that are being undertaken to ensure our safety.

As we continue to explore space and unravel its mysteries, our understanding of near-Earth objects will undoubtedly evolve. Advancements in technology and research will enable us to refine our knowledge and improve our ability to predict and respond to any potential threats. By maintaining a proactive approach and continuing to invest in asteroid detection and mitigation strategies, we can enhance our preparedness and safeguard our planet.

In conclusion, while the passing of asteroids like 2020 DB5 may generate interest and curiosity, it is essential to remember that they do not pose a significant threat to Earth. Through ongoing scientific endeavors and effective communication, we can foster a better understanding of these cosmic visitors and appreciate the wonders of our universe.

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