NASA detects an asteroid approaching Earth, here's what it means for us

Detected a few days ago, this asteroid should pass very close to the Earth in a few days' time. Here's what we know about it.

NASA asteroid approaching Earth danger
© Wonders of Life / BBC
NASA asteroid approaching Earth danger

As NASA and other space agencies devise new methods of deflecting or neutralizing asteroids, new celestial objects approaching Earth are detected every week. Not all are necessarily considered as 'potentially dangerous', but they are nevertheless listed by astronomers. Such is the case with one of them, which is currently approaching our planet.

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The asteroid (2023 XL4)

As every week, NASA updates its list of approaching asteroids on a dedicated page. This is an opportunity to discover that several of these celestial objects are, at this very moment, approaching the Earth.

Among them is (2023 XL4): as its name suggests, this asteroid was discovered this year, and more precisely on December 6. As a reminder, the smallest asteroids are logically the hardest to spot, which is why it's not unusual to detect them shortly before their closest approach.

Is this asteroid dangerous?

As NASA points out, (2023 XL4) is only 21 meters in size, so it doesn't have the scale to cause colossal damage. On impact, however, it could cause some local damage.

Fortunately, it does not represent a major risk: according to the Agency, it should not come within 4.3 million kilometers of the Earth. For information, an asteroid is considered 'potentially dangerous' when it measures more than 150 meters and comes within 4.6 million kilometers of our planet. 2023 XL4 meets only one of these criteria.

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This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

NASA detects 'potentially dangerous' asteroid nearly the size of the Eiffel Tower approaching Earth NASA detects 'potentially dangerous' asteroid nearly the size of the Eiffel Tower approaching Earth