NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued a warning about an asteroid known as Asteroid 2023 OD5, which is expected to make its closest approach to Earth on August 1. The asteroid, measuring almost 150 feet wide, will pass by Earth at a distance of approximately 5.3 million kilometers. While it will come very close to the planet, it is not considered a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid.
Asteroid 2023 OD5 belongs to the Aten group of asteroids, which are Earth-crossing Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) with semi-major axes smaller than Earth’s. The first asteroid of this group was discovered by American astronomer Eleanor Helin on January 7, 1976, at Palomar Observatory.
To address the threat posed by asteroids, NASA conducted the first test of its DART Mission for planetary protection in 2022. The agency successfully diverted an oncoming asteroid by crashing a spacecraft into it, demonstrating an asteroid diversion method. Additionally, ESA has a mission called NEOMIR, designed to serve as an early warning system for asteroids 20 meters and larger that cannot be detected from the ground.
While NASA experts assert that no asteroid is expected to impact Earth for at least the next 100 years, measures for planetary defense remain crucial in preventing potential harm and loss of life in case any asteroid deviates toward Earth.