Near-Earth Object (NEO)


  • Recently NASA announced that a giant asteroid is expected to pass Earth (at a safe distance) on June 6.
  • A Near-Earth Object (NEO), the asteroid is called 163348 (2002 NN4) and is classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA).

What are Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), why are they studied?

  • NEOs occasionally approach close to the Earth as they orbit the Sun, NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Study (CNEOS) determines the times and distances of these objects as and when their approach to the Earth is close.
  • NASA defines NEOs as comets and asteroids nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits which allows them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.
  • These objects are composed mostly of water ice with embedded dust particles.
  • NEOs offer scientists clues about the chemical mixture from the planets formed.

What is 163348 (2002 NN4)?

  • This asteroid is classified as a PHA, which means the asteroid has the potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth.
  • 2002 NN4 was discovered in July 2002 and is expected to approach the Earth on June 6.

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