An asteroid, named 2023 BU, is set to shoot past the Earth’s atmosphere this week.
The asteroid was discovered by NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) on Saturday, January 21st and is scheduled to pass by on Friday morning, January 27th at around 12:30 am.
It will pass about 2,500 miles above the Earth’s surface, making it the fourth-nearest of past and future space rocks to come close to our planet.
This distance is just under three percent of the average distance between the Earth and the Moon.
The asteroid, measuring between 12.4 ft and 27.8 ft, poses no threat to the Earth.
According to NASA’s CNEOS, any asteroid smaller than about 82 ft would be more likely to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere than hit the ground.
Astronomy enthusiasts will be able to spot the asteroid as it passes by thanks to the Virtual Telescope Project (VTP), a set of robotic telescopes based in Ceccano, Italy that are accessible online.
The VTP’s live feed of the asteroid will begin on Thursday, January 26th at 7:15 pm.
In other recent space-related news, NASA has funded the development of a new handheld laser that could potentially help scientists detect alien life.
The device which was created by a University of Maryland-led team, uses an ultraviolet laser to remove particles from planetary material.
These particles will then be analyzed with the hopes of finding organic compounds.
The new laser allows scientists to access larger compounds with more complex properties in relation to biology, as smaller compounds such as amino acids are harder to analyze.
It is much more suited for space travel than the previous, much larger prototype and might be ready for launch into space in the next few years.
It’s exciting to see the advancements in technology and equipment that allow scientists to explore and understand our universe better.
While the asteroid 2023 BU poses no threat to the Earth, it’s an opportunity for the public to witness and learn about the natural phenomenon of near-Earth asteroids.
The new alien-hunting laser also brings us one step closer to potentially discovering extraterrestrial life. With the rapid advancement in technology and space exploration, we truly are living in the future.