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Asteroid Icarus to Make Distant Pass Today

Asteroid Icarus will safely pass by Earth at more than 21 times the distance of Earth to the moon on June 16. To put it another way, Icarus, one of the first near-Earth asteroids ever discovered (1949), will approach no closer than five million miles away (eight million kilometers).

Asteroid Icarus will safely pass more than 21 times the distance of Earth to the moon on June 16, 2015. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Asteroid Icarus will safely pass more than 21 times the distance of Earth to the moon on June 16, 2015. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On June 14, 2090, the asteroid will approach marginally closer, with a close approach distance of about 17 lunar distances (four million miles, or six-and-a-half million kilometers).

NASA detects, tracks and characterizes asteroids and comets using both ground- and space-based telescopes. Elements of the Near-Earth Object Program, often referred to as “Spaceguard,” discover these objects, characterize a subset of them and identify their close approaches to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet.

NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program is part of the agency’s asteroid initiative, which includes sending a robotic spacecraft to capture a boulder from the surface of a near-Earth asteroid and move it into a stable orbit around the moon for exploration by astronauts, all in support of advancing the nation’s journey to Mars.

Source: NASA