Truck-sized asteroid passes very close to Earth

It didn’t go very far! A small asteroid the size of a truck passed by without causing any damage, NASA said on Thursday. Unlike Hollywood scenarios, there was no mission necessary to blow it up or deviate from its trajectory with missiles. The asteroid, named 2023 BU, passed most of its path at a distance of 3,600 kilometers from the Earth’s surface, much closer than many geostationary satellites orbiting the planet.

The space object was first spotted on Saturday from an observatory in Crimea by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov, who was also the discoverer of the interstellar Comet Borisov in 2019. Dozens of observations were then made by observatories around the world, which confirmed its arrival. 2023 BU.

This diagram provided by NASA shows in red the projected trajectory of asteroid 2023 BU, as influenced by Earth’s gravity, and in green the orbits of geosynchronous satellites. – /ap/sipa

danger of collision is gone very quickly

NASA’s Impact Hazard Assessment System, Scout, immediately ruled out a collision with Earth. “Despite seeing very little, he was still able to predict that the asteroid would make an exceptionally close approach to Earth,” said David Farnocchia, a navigation engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that developed Scout.

It’s one of the closest approaches by NEO [un astéroïde ou une comète dont l’orbite croise celle de la Terre, N.D.L.R.] never recorded”, says the scientist.

Scientists say that if the calculations were wrong, then perhaps humanity would be fine. The asteroid, which measures between 3.5 and 8.5 meters in diameter, would have largely disintegrated in our atmosphere, possibly leaving only some debris in the form of small meteorites.