Astronomers have always been fascinated by the unexpected wonders of the universe, and asteroids are no exception. These celestial bodies have consistently surprised and amazed humanity throughout history, often leaving a path of devastation in their wake when colliding with Earth. To mitigate potential disasters, space agencies such as NASA and ESA have diligently monitored and identified tens of thousands of asteroids. This ongoing surveillance is crucial in order to be prepared for any potential asteroid-related calamities. Consequently, NASA and ESA remain vigilant, closely monitoring these asteroids that pose a potential threat of approaching Earth too closely. Recently, one such asteroid demonstrated this proximity by coming dangerously close to our planet.
Astronomers and space enthusiasts held their breath when a small, newly discovered asteroid called Asteroid C9FMVU2 visited our planet on September 7th. Measuring just 6.5 feet (2 meters) across, this celestial visitor came incredibly close to Earth.
Fortunately, despite its proximity, there was no reason to panic. The European Space Agency ESA assured the public that the small size of the asteroid does not pose a threat to our planet.
Yesterday, ESA missions posted this on their X-handle: “In less than two hours, a small asteroid discovered just this morning will approach Earth, 100 times closer to the Moon and well below many Earth-orbiting satellites. “It poses no danger to us, but Earth’s gravity will shape its trajectory forever” , Richard Moissl, ESA’s Chief of Planetary Defense.
Astronomers have identified more than 30,000 near-Earth asteroids, objects that pass through space near our planet’s orbit. However, NASA has classified only about 2,300 of these as dangerous. To earn this designation, an asteroid must be wider than 460 feet (140 meters) and follow an orbit that brings it within 20 moons of Earth. Even smaller asteroids can cause significant damage if they collide with our planet. For example, the 20-meter-wide Chelyabinsk asteroid that exploded over southern Russia in 2013 broke thousands of windows and injured about 1,400 people with flying glass shards.
Considering the possible risks, astronomers are diligently mapping the population of near-Earth space rocks. This ongoing effort aims to ensure that humanity is prepared for unexpected collisions.