Asteroid 2006 QQ23 (Representational Image)
Earth has been often in the firing line of fragments of asteroids from the last few weeks. Just when we took a sigh of relief at not being hit by asteroid 2019 NJ2, reports started coming in from all corners that another giant space rock named Asteroid 2006 QQ23 may hit our planet next month. Amid this apprehension, the European Space Agency (ESA) asked planetarians not to panic as we are not getting hit by the asteroid this time as well.
According to the study, carried out by the ESA, Asteroid 2006 QQ23 will not smash into the Earth and is only going to perform a flyby on 10 August at about 7:23 am ST. The giant rock is predicted to zoom past the Earth at a distance of 0.04977 AU (astronomical units). However, there is hardly any chance that it will bump into our planet. Earlier, NASA's CNEOS tagged the asteroid as ‘hazardous’, in the view of its trajectory, which could manage to intersect with Earth’s orbit.
Also categorised under Atens, QQ23 is a near-earth asteroid with a semi-major-axes that is smaller than Earth's. The estimated diameter for the space rock has been estimated to around 250 m - 570 m (approx. to 1870 feet), which is taller than many skyscrapers. It is much bigger in size as compared to the Chelyabinsk meteor that entered Earth’s atmosphere over Russia back in 2013. It weighed about 440 kilotons and left at least 1,500 people injured, mostly from glass flying out of smashed windows.
Asteroid 2006 QQ23, which was first observed on 21 August 2006, would cause massive damage to Earth, in case it hits the planet.