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Plane-sized asteroid 2024 KN1 to safely pass Earth today: NASA

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A significant asteroid, 2024 KN1, comparable in size to an 88-foot airplane, is set to pass by Earth today.

This celestial event was highlighted by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, alerting the public to the asteroid's closest approach. Traveling at an impressive speed of about 16,500 kilometers per hour, the 2024 KN1 belongs to the Amor group and will make its nearest approach at 11:39 PM IST on June 23, 2024.

Despite the potential for concern, NASA has assured that 2024 KN1 poses no threat. The asteroid will maintain a safe distance of 5.6 million kilometers from Earth, eliminating any risk of collision. This reassures that while asteroids approaching Earth often garner attention, this one will pass without incident.

Currently, over 30,000 asteroids of varying sizes, including more than 850 exceeding one kilometer in diameter, have been cataloged near Earth, classified as Near Earth Objects (NEOs). NASA has confirmed that none of these NEOs pose a threat to Earth for at least the next 100 years. However, NASA continues to closely monitor potentially hazardous asteroids with orbits that could bring them dangerously close to Earth.

NASA’s dashboard tracks these asteroids and comets, providing detailed information about their size, approach dates, and distances from Earth. This system specifically monitors objects within 7.5 million kilometers of our planet. Asteroids, remnants from the solar system's formation, vary greatly in size and composition, often having irregular shapes and consisting of rocks, metals, and clays.

In a separate but related endeavor, NASA conducted a hypothetical exercise that revealed a potentially hazardous asteroid with a 72% chance of striking Earth.

This exercise, aimed at assessing Earth's readiness for such a threat, involved nearly 100 representatives from various U.S. government agencies and international partners.

Held at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in April, the exercise evaluated responses to a hypothetical asteroid scenario with a potential impact date of July 12, 2038, providing a 14-year warning period. The exercise highlighted significant gaps in readiness, including decision-making processes, rapid implementation of space missions, global coordination of messaging, and defined disaster management plans for asteroid impacts.

This was the first exercise to utilize data from NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission, which confirmed that a kinetic impactor could alter an asteroid's trajectory. To further enhance preparedness, NASA is developing the NEO Surveyor, an infrared space telescope set to launch in June 2028, designed to identify potentially hazardous near-Earth objects years before they pose a threat.

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TAGS:NASAAsteroid2024 KN1
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