Asteroid set to pass by Earth about as close as the moon

Asteroid near Earth.
Asteroid near Earth. Science Photo Library - ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI/Getty Images

An asteroid is set to pass near Earth at a distance just greater than the distance between the Earth and the moon. Approximately the size of a bus, according to NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the asteroid named 2023 HV5 will approach Earth at a distance of approximately 270,000 miles, Newsweek writes. For reference, the moon is approximately 240,000 miles away from Earth.

Despite appearing to not be that close, this is considered a near-Earth object (NEO) in the context of outer space, especially since the asteroid will be moving at 20,000 miles per hour. NEOs are "generally defined as an asteroid or comet that approaches our planet less than 1.3 times the distance from Earth to the Sun," and for the most part, tend to not be a threat, per NASA. They also "may provide needed raw materials for future interplanetary exploration" and "some should also be fairly easy to land on for future exploration."

Asteroids are "rocky fragments left over from the formation of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago," that are mostly located between Jupiter and Mars. "However, as they are relatively small, asteroids can be disturbed quite easily, so they can develop orbits that cross those of planets," Jay Tate, the director of the Spaceguard Center observatory told Newsweek​​​​​​. Some especially close and large asteroids may get the designation of "potentially hazardous" because there could be a risk of it colliding with the Earth. "The 'potentially hazardous' designation simply means over many centuries and millennia the asteroid's orbit may evolve into one that has a chance of impacting Earth," according to Paul Chodas of CNEOS in Newsweek.

2023 HV5 is not considered to be potentially hazardous because of its size. In fact, there are no NEOs in the next 100 years that are predicted to hit Earth.

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