Discover NASA’s astounding achievement in collecting asteroid samples and the incredible secrets hidden within! Explore the latest updates on asteroid 2023 SO5 and the potential risks it poses. Dive into the cosmos with us!
NASA is actively engaged in a continuous mission to monitor and study asteroids, particularly those that come uncomfortably close to Earth. The agency goes to great lengths to expand its understanding of these celestial objects. A recent significant achievement was the successful retrieval of a sample from an asteroid by a spacecraft it had dispatched for this purpose. This milestone was accomplished yesterday when NASA successfully retrieved the space capsule containing samples collected from Asteroid Bennu by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft in 2020. This marked NASA’s first-ever attempt and success in gathering samples from an asteroid.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft undertook an extensive journey covering over 4 billion miles to reach Asteroid Bennu and return to Earth. It released its sample return capsule on September 24, containing approximately 250 grams of rocks and various materials collected from Bennu. These precious samples hold the potential to provide essential insights into the origins of life on Earth and the early phases of our solar system.
In addition to collecting asteroid samples, NASA diligently monitors other asteroids that approach Earth. One such recent discovery is Asteroid 2023 SO5, which NASA first observed on September 22. This asteroid is roughly the size of a Boeing 777, measuring 74 feet in width. Its closest approach to Earth is estimated to be 4.96 million kilometres, with an associated relative velocity of approximately 60,364 kilometres per hour.
Regarding potential threats, Asteroid 2023 SO5 falls into the Apollo group of asteroids, which is categorized as a potentially hazardous asteroid family. The Apollo asteroids, named after the discovery of the 1862 Apollo by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s, include objects that orbit near Earth. Notably, the Chelyabinsk meteor, an Apollo-class asteroid, exploded over Russia’s southern Urals region in February 2013, causing injuries due to shattered windows.
However, it’s worth noting that the size of Asteroid 2023 SO5 is relatively small, potentially not meeting the criteria for a hazardous asteroid as defined by NASA. NASA typically designates asteroids as “Potentially Hazardous” if they come within 7.5 million kilometres of Earth and have a size larger than 150 meters.
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