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The Asteroid That's No Longer a Threat

By Luke86 | Astrofacts | 25 Feb 2023

On February 3rd, an asteroid roughly 500 meters long flew past our planet at a distance of about 1.8 million kilometers. NASA's Goldstone Deep Space Network seized the opportunity to study it up close, not only determining its many characteristics but also confirming that its orbit poses no risk of impact with Earth.



An asteroid named 2011 AG5 recently passed by Earth at a safe distance of approximately 1.8 million kilometers, which is almost five times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.


Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California observed the unusual rocky body to determine its dimensions, rotation, surface details, and most importantly, its shape. The asteroid is about 150 meters wide and 500 meters long, making it similar in size to the Empire State Building. The Goldstone Solar System Radar was used to reveal the asteroid's size, and it is one of the most elongated objects ever seen among the 1,040 objects observed by the planetary radar near Earth.

Features The observations also showed a large depression and other surface features on one hemisphere of the asteroid, which could indicate the presence of features a few tens of meters in diameter.

The radar observations helped scientists understand the asteroid's orbit around the Sun and refine its path, which had previously been classified as potentially hazardous. However, continuous observations have now excluded any possibility of an impact, and the new measurements will tell exactly where it will be in the distant future. The asteroid completes an orbit around the Sun every 621 days, and the closest approach to Earth is expected in 2040, when it will pass over our heads at a distance of about 1.1 million kilometers, almost three times the distance between Earth and the Moon.

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