NASA recently tracked down one of the most elongated asteroids ever observed by planetary radar among the 1040 near-Earth objects. On February 3, a sizable asteroid, named 2011 AG5, flew past Earth at a distance of around 1.1 million miles, which is about five times the distance between the Moon and our planet. Despite having no possibility of colliding with Earth, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory observed it closely to collect precious data on its size, surface features, rotational speed, and shape. This close approach provided the first opportunity to take a detailed look at the asteroid which is as big as the Empire State Building.
The asteroid discovered in 2011 is about 1600 feet long and 500 feet wide. Its study took place from January 29 to February 4, 2023, which shared several other details such as the presence of a large, broad concavity in one of the asteroid’s two hemispheres, along with faint areas of both darker and lighter shades. As NASA and other space agencies keep a close eye on asteroids, this discovery adds to their knowledge of the characteristics of near-Earth objects and may assist in better understanding and preparing for possible future asteroid impacts.