NASA recently completed a historic mission as its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft brought the first-ever asteroid sample to the US soil on September 24. The spacecraft travelled a distance of almost 7 billion kilometers on its journey, during which it virtually landed on an asteroid known as Bennu, which has a 1/2700 chance of impacting Earth between 2175 and 2195. It collected dust and rock samples from the asteroid’s surface and brought it back to Earth. Astonishingly, scientists have now revealed that it brought back too many samples and it will take some time to complete the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSM).
Christopher Snead, deputy OSIRIS-REx curation lead at NASA’s Johnson Space Center said, “There’s a lot of abundant material outside the TAGSAM head that’s interesting in its own right. It’s really spectacular to have all that material there.”
In a separate development, NASA has also revealed details about an asteroid that will pass the planet at a close distance soon. Is there a chance of impact? Know details.
When will it pass Earth?
According to the data published by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), an asteroid designated as Asteroid 2023 SN6 is approaching Earth at a fearsome speed and is expected to make its closest approach to the planet today, October 4.
How fast is it going?
Well, NASA has revealed that this space rock is currently travelling towards Earth at 30564 kilometers per hour. It will come as close as 4.8 million kilometers from the planet’s surface. While this distance might seem a lot, it is relatively a small number in astronomical distances, considering how big the asteroid is.
How big is it?
According to NASA, the asteroid that is approaching Earth isn’t big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. Asteroid 2023 SN6 is estimated to be almost 86 feet wide, which is not big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. In terms of size, it is nearly as big as an aircraft.
It belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, which are Earth-crossing space rocks with semi-major axes larger than Earth’s. These asteroids are named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.
This will be Asteroid 2023 SN6’s first-ever close approach to the planet. After today, it is not expected to come close to Earth again, as per NASA.