To study the asteroid Bennu, which has a 1/2,700 chance of hitting earth between 2175 and 2195, NASA launched the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). NASA sent the spacecraft that landed on the asteroid and collected rock and dust samples before returning to earth a few weeks ago. While NASA was able to collect the samples outside the container, the space agency is struggling to clear 2 of the capsule's 35 fasteners. Consequently, the samples inside the capsule are yet to be accessed.
NASA has revealed fresh information noting that the asteroid will pass earth at the closest distance today, October 25.
Asteroid 2023 UF6 speed
NASA's Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) provided details stating that the Asteroid 2023 UF6 will pass earth today, October 25. Its orbit will bring it close up to 3 million km to Earth. Considering the astronomical term, the distance is relatively small, as it may seem like a lot. Its estimated speed is 55,243 km per hour.
Asteroid 2023 UF6 size
NASA claims the approaching asteroid is not giant enough to be called a Potentially Hazardous Object. The estimated size of Asteroid 2023 UF6 is between 59 and 131 feet wide, which cannot be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. It is close to an aircraft in a matter of size.
About Asteroid 2023 UF6
Asteroid 2023 UF6 is a part of the Apollo group of near-Earth asteroids, which are space rocks that cross Earth's orbit with semi-major axes greater than Earth's. These asteroids are named after the massive 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered in the 1930s by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth.
This will be the first close approach of Asteroid 2023 UF6 in history. NASA CNEOS suggest that the Asteroid 2023 UF6 will again pass earth at a distance of about 70 million kilometres on April 22, 2028.
How asteroids are named
The procedure for providing the provisional designation to an asteroid starts when a single observer discovers it on two consecutive nights and sends its reports to the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Minor Planet Centre, as per the European Space Agency (ESA). The IAU then issues an interim designation like a serial number like '2023 UF6.' The interim title includes the year of discovery and two letters indicating the order of discovery that year.