NASA has issued a warning about an enormous asteroid, named Asteroid 2023 JB3, which is expected to have a close encounter with Earth in the near future. This mammoth celestial object falls under the category of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) and is being closely monitored by NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
Asteroids are classified into three primary types: C-type, S-type, and M-type. C-type asteroids, composed of carbon-rich substances, are the most common, followed by S-type asteroids, made up mainly of silicate minerals. M-type asteroids, primarily composed of metal, are the least prevalent. Research on asteroids is crucial as it provides valuable insights into the early stages of the solar system and planetary development. Additionally, these space rocks could potentially hold valuable resources, such as metals and water, which may be utilized in future space missions.
Asteroid 2023 JB3, belonging to the Apollo group of NEAs, is set to make its closest approach to Earth on June 9, at a distance of approximately 5.4 million kilometers. The asteroid is hurtling towards our planet at an astonishing speed of 25,018 kilometers per hour. What makes this asteroid particularly noteworthy is its immense size, measuring nearly 160 feet in width, comparable to that of a large aircraft. It falls within the Aten group of asteroids, which are Earth-crossing NEAs with semi-major axes smaller than Earth’s. The group is named after the asteroid 2062 Aten.
To monitor asteroids and potential near-Earth objects, NASA employs a combination of ground-based and space-based telescopes. The Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), funded by NASA, scans the night sky for any moving objects and promptly reports any potential asteroid detections. Additionally, space-based observatories equipped with infrared sensors are utilized to detect asteroids and gather information about their characteristics.
The Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA is responsible for monitoring the skies and tracking upcoming flybys of near-Earth objects. Through the use of advanced telescopes, over 750,000 asteroids have been discovered to date, with more than 27,000 identified as near-Earth asteroids.
As scientists and researchers continue to study asteroids and their potential impact on Earth, the monitoring efforts by NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and understanding of these celestial bodies.