NASA defines asteroids as ancient rocky, airless remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Through various experiments, scientists have learned that although asteroids have the potential to cause catastrophic damage if they impact Earth, these objects can also become resource hubs. Space agencies check the orbits of these space rocks to avoid a potential collision scenario. They have also developed technology to track these space rocks in their orbits and redirect them in case a potential impact scenario develops.
Using its technology, NASA has now shed light on an asteroid that is likely to pass Earth today, February 9. Learn all about this approach.
Asteroid 2024 CJ1: Speed, Size, Distance and More
According to details issued by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the asteroid has been designated Asteroid 2024 CJ1. This space rock is expected to pass Earth today at a distance of only 367,000 km, which is closer to Earth than the Moon! It will be the closest asteroid ever in 2024. The asteroid is already traveling towards Earth in its orbit at a speed of 27463 kilometers per hour, which is comparable to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)!
Asteroid 2024 CJ1 belongs to the Apollo group of near-Earth asteroids, which are space rocks that pass Earth with semi-axial axes larger than Earth. These asteroids are named after the massive 1862 Apollo asteroid discovered by German astronomer Carl Reinmuth in the 1930s.
According to NASA, this is not the first time that asteroid 2024 CJ1 has come close to Earth. It first passed the planet on January 12, 2018 at a distance of about 65 million kilometers. Later today, it will fly past the planet again on July 17 this year at a distance of 57 million kilometers.
How big is it?
Asteroid 2024 CJ1 is about the size of a 22-foot-wide bus, according to NASA. However, it is considered harmless and is not classified as a potentially hazardous object, meaning it does not pose a risk to Earth.
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