According to reports from the European Space Agency (ESA), this Saturday (March 25) a large asteroid will pass at great speed, and fortunately in complete safety, between the Earth and the Moon. An extremely fascinating event, which occurs every 10 years, and which will be used to improve planetary defense efforts.
The asteroid, called 2023 DZ2it is calculated that it has a size between 40 and 70 metersroughly like the Colosseum in Rome, large enough to wipe out a large city if it were on a collision course with our planet.
The head of ESA’s Planetary Defense Office, Dr. Richard Moissl, said that the celestial body will transit one third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon, the closest point to us, around 20:49 Italian on Saturday. And even though technically it might seem like a “close” pass, there won’t be anything to worry about.
On the other hand, the Moon is about 385,000 kilometers away from us, and the asteroid will pass within 175,000 kilometers of Earth, at a speed of 28,000 kilometers per hour. A fairly rare event considering the size, as it only happens once every 10 years.
L’International Asteroid Warning Networkapproved by the United Nations, also decided to take advantage of the close passage of 2023 DZ2carrying out a “rapid characterization” of the asteroid, which will allow astronomers from all over the world to analyze the celestial body with a respectable range of scientific instrumentssuch as spectrometers and radars.
“The goal will be to find out, in just one week, how much we can learn about such an asteroid. So as to also evaluate how the network would react in the event of a threat that could head towards us in the future“said Dr. Moissl.
After this “close pass”, the asteroid will cross Earth’s gaze again in 2026, but it will pose no threat of impact for at least the next 100 years. And all in all, even if such an asteroid were determined to head our way, Earth would no longer be defenseless.
In fact, how can we forget the NASA DART spacecraft which deliberately crashed into the asteroid Dimorphos, causing it to deviate from its trajectory significantly, and effectively marking the first success of a planetary defense test.