Delivery Truck-Sized Asteroid to Make Close Encounter with Earth

As the world watches in awe, a delivery truck-sized asteroid is set to make a close encounter with Earth on Thursday night. Dubbed 2023 BU, this newly discovered asteroid is believed to be between 11 feet and 28 feet across, and it’s set to zoom past our planet at a distance of 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers) above the southern tip of South America.

But don’t panic just yet, NASA assures that this will be a near miss with no chance of the asteroid hitting Earth. In fact, the asteroid’s closest approach will occur at 7:27 p.m. EST (9:27 p.m. local), which is 10 times closer than the bevy of communication satellites that orbit our planet.

Even if the space rock were to come closer, scientists say that most of it would burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, with only the bigger pieces possibly falling as meteorites. NASA’s impact hazard assessment system, called Scout, quickly ruled out a strike, according to its developer, Davide Farnocchia, an engineer at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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“Despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth,” Farnocchia said in a statement. “In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded.”

2023 BU was first spotted on Saturday by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov in Crimea, who also discovered an interstellar comet in 2019. Within a few days, dozens of observations were made by astronomers around the world, allowing them to refine the asteroid’s orbit.

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As the asteroid zips past Earth, its path will be drastically altered by our planet’s gravity. Instead of circling the sun every 359 days, it will move into an oval orbit lasting 425 days, according to NASA.

While this asteroid encounter may be a close call, it serves as a reminder of the importance of monitoring near-Earth objects to ensure the safety of our planet. So, as you look up at the night sky on Thursday, keep an eye out for 2023 BU and marvel at the wonders of our universe.

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