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Breaking News: Asteroid 20230310_123128 to Pass Near Earth Tomorrow

An asteroid named 20230310_123128, which was discovered by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program last month, is expected to fly by Earth tomorrow at a distance of about 4.6 million kilometers (2.9 million miles), or about 12 times the distance between Earth and the moon.

According to NASA, the asteroid poses no threat to Earth or any other planet in the solar system. It has an estimated diameter of between 15 and 30 meters (50 and 100 feet), which is comparable to the size of the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013.

NASA says that the asteroid will be visible to amateur astronomers with small telescopes or binoculars, as it will have a brightness of about magnitude 15. The best time to observe it will be around 12:31 UTC (7:31 a.m. EST) on March 10, when it will be at its closest point to Earth.

The asteroid is one of thousands of near-Earth objects that are tracked by NASA and other agencies around the world. NASA says that none of these objects currently pose any significant risk of impact in the foreseeable future, but they are constantly monitoring them for any potential changes in their orbits or trajectories.

The asteroid 20230310_123128 belongs to a class of asteroids known as Apollo asteroids, which have orbits that cross the orbit of Earth. These asteroids are of interest to scientists and explorers, as they may contain valuable resources or clues about the origin and evolution of the solar system.

NASA has several missions planned or underway to study and visit near-Earth asteroids, such as the OSIRIS-REx mission, which is currently orbiting the asteroid Bennu and will return a sample of its surface material to Earth in 2023, and the DART mission, which will test a technique to deflect an asteroid by crashing a spacecraft into it in 2022.

NASA also encourages the public to participate in the detection and tracking of near-Earth objects through programs such as the Asteroid Grand Challenge and the Citizen Science Asteroid Tracker. These initiatives aim to increase the awareness and involvement of the general public in the protection of Earth from potential asteroid impacts.

While the asteroid 20230310_123128 is not a threat to Earth, it is a reminder of the importance of being prepared for any possible scenario. NASA and other agencies have developed various strategies and protocols to deal with potential asteroid impacts, such as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office and the International Asteroid Warning Network.

These organizations coordinate the detection, tracking, characterization, and mitigation of near-Earth objects, as well as the communication and education of the public and policymakers. They also conduct exercises and simulations to test their readiness and response capabilities in case of an actual asteroid impact event.

NASA says that the chances of a large asteroid hitting Earth in any given year are very low, but not zero. Therefore, it is essential to keep monitoring the sky and improving our knowledge and technology to protect our planet and ourselves from any potential cosmic hazards.

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