NASA has alerted the world about the approach of a bus-sized asteroid, 2023 JL1, toward Earth today. The asteroid is expected to make a close approach, but it is not expected to collide with our planet. Here is everything you need to know about the asteroid, its trajectory, and the potential risks associated with such near-Earth objects.

Asteroid JL1
Image Source: iStock

What Is Asteroid 2023 JL1?

2023 JL1 is a small near-Earth asteroid (NEA) that was first discovered on May 10, 2023, by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, US. It is estimated to be about 13 meters in size, which is about the size of a small bus.

The asteroid is classified as a “potentially hazardous asteroid” because it has a minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) with Earth of less than 0.05 astronomical units (AU), or 7.5 million km.

What Is The Trajectory Of 2023 JL1?

According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), asteroid 2023 JL1 will make its closest approach to Earth on May 15, 2023, at 17:39 UTC (Universal Coordinated Time).

It will pass by at a distance of about 5.8 million km, or about 15 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. This distance is considered to be safe, and there is no risk of the asteroid colliding with our planet.

What Are The Potential Risks Associated With Near-Earth Asteroids?

While the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth are relatively low, it is still a possibility that cannot be ignored. Near-Earth asteroids can pose a significant threat to our planet, as they can cause extensive damage and loss of life if they were to collide with Earth.

For this reason, NASA and other space agencies are constantly monitoring near-Earth objects and studying their trajectories to determine any potential risks.

What Is NASA Doing To Protect Earth From Asteroids?

NASA is working on several projects to protect Earth from potential asteroid impacts. One of the most significant efforts is the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which was established in 2016 to coordinate NASA’s efforts to detect, track, and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids.

NASA is also planning to launch a mission called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) in 2024, which will test the effectiveness of a technique called a kinetic impactor to deflect an asteroid from its trajectory.

While the approach of asteroid 2023 JL1 is a reminder of the potential risks associated with near-Earth objects, it is also an opportunity to appreciate the work that NASA and other space agencies are doing to protect our planet.

By monitoring these objects and developing new technologies to deflect them, we can ensure that Earth remains safe from the threat of asteroid impacts.


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