Asteroids will always be a matter of concern for the Earth. Therefore, their detection and monitoring is necessary. One meteor named the Chelyabinsk meteor exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in the southern Urals region of Russia on February 15, 2013. It injured 1,500 people with flying glass from broken windows. The Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), a branch of NASA, monitors the skies and keeps a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). The organization has recently issued a warning against an asteroid designated as Asteroid 2023 PM1. It is just one of the millions of asteroids that have been discovered to date. NASA keeps an eye on the asteroids with the help of advanced ground and space-based telescopes and satellites.
Asteroid 2023 PM1
This asteroid is on its way toward the planet, traveling at a speed of 66860 kilometers per hour. It was first observed on 13 August and the last observation was made on 18 August. As NASA suggests, this asteroid is not big enough to be called a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid. The asteroid 2023 PM1 is almost 220 feet wide which makes it almost as big as the Boeing 777!
The space agency has also revealed that Asteroid 2023 PM1 belongs to the Apollo family. The Apollo asteroids constitute a collection of Earth-crossing asteroids designated after the discovery of the 1862 Apollo by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth during the 1930s. The Chelyabinsk meteor was also from the Apollo Family. The closest approach of this asteroid to the Earth will be 1.94 million km.
In 2022, NASA conducted the inaugural test of its DART Mission, aiming to safeguard against asteroid threats. By crashing a spacecraft into an incoming asteroid, they successfully altered its trajectory, demonstrating an effective method for asteroid deflection. Meanwhile, ESA has initiated the NEOMIR mission, designed as an early warning system for larger asteroids (20 meters and up) that aren’t visible from Earth’s surface.
While NASA experts predict no asteroid impacts on Earth within the next century, the significance of planetary defense measures remains crucial. These measures can play a pivotal role in preventing potential loss of life in the event of an asteroid speeding towards our planet.