NASA Sends Out Warning : Aircraft-Sized Asteroid Hurtles Towards Earth At Frightening Speeds.

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asteroid 2015 AK1

Giant Aircraft-Sized Asteroid Zooming Past Earth Today

Our solar system is filled with millions of asteroids of varying sizes that orbit the Sun. While most never come close to Earth, some have orbits that cut across our planet’s path around the Sun. These asteroids that come near Earth are called near-Earth objects (NEOs) and are monitored closely by space agencies.

One such NEO called asteroid 2015 AK1 will make a close approach to Earth today on January 15, 2024. In this article, we will explore key details about this asteroid including its size, speed, distance from Earth and whether it poses any threat.

Quick Facts About Asteroid 2015 AK1

Before diving into details, here are the key stats on asteroid 2015 AK1 according to NASA:

  • Size: ~160 feet (50 meters) across, as big as a passenger jet plane
  • Speed: 47,608 km/hr, faster than a ballistic missile
  • Closest Approach: 6 million km from Earth
  • Group: Apollo group asteroid with an orbit that crosses Earth’s
All About Asteroid 2015 AK1

All About Asteroid 2015 AK1

Asteroid 2015 AK1 is considered an NEO or near-Earth object since its orbit brings it close to our planet. Here are some key facts about it:

  • It is a moderately large asteroid, measuring around 160 feet in diameter or the size of a typical passenger aircraft.
  • 2015 AK1 belongs to a group of asteroids called Apollos, named after the first discovered asteroid in this group, 1862 Apollo.
  • These are Earth-crossing asteroids that have orbits larger than Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
  • It takes 2015 AK1 about 821 days or 2.25 years to complete one orbit around the Sun.
  • It will approach as close as 6 million km to Earth during its January 15 flyby, moving extremely fast at 47,608 km/hr.
  • At its farthest from the Sun, 2015 AK1 reaches 388 million km, while its closest approach to the Sun is 125 million km.
  • After today’s pass, it will visit Earth’s vicinity again on May 22, 2071, passing at 10.76 million km.
Is Asteroid 2015 AK1 Dangerous for Earth?

Is Asteroid 2015 AK1 Dangerous for Earth?

Given the large size and high speed of asteroid 2015 AK1, some may wonder if it poses an impact risk to Earth.

However, NASA confirms that this asteroid is not considered potentially hazardous, and its closest approach of 6 million km poses no threat.

Here’s why the 2015 AK1 is not worrisome:

  • Its closest distance of 6 million km is much farther than the Moon’s distance from Earth.
  • NASA carefully tracks and analyzes the orbits of asteroids like 2015 AK1 to assess risks.
  • If its trajectory changes due to gravitational effects, NASA would detect it early and warn of any potential impacts.

So while 2015 AK1 makes a relatively close flyby of Earth, it is merely putting on a harmless cosmic show for us to observe. Asteroid trackers will keep monitoring its orbit in case its trajectory ever shifts to a collision course.

The Importance of Tracking Asteroids

The Importance of Tracking Asteroids

The flyby of asteroid 2015 AK1 highlights the importance of continually scanning the skies and tracking the orbits of near-Earth asteroids. Here are some reasons this asteroid monitoring is so crucial:

  • Detects any asteroids on possible impact trajectories early for mitigation.
  • Gives advance warning to evacuate areas that may be under risk.
  • Enables space agencies to develop asteroid deflection plans when required.
  • Studies asteroid sizes, compositions and groups to better understand the threats.
  • Informs strategies to protect Earth from catastrophic impacts that can cause mass extinctions.
  • Provides data to plan asteroid mining and utilization in the future.

While asteroid 2015 AK1 itself is harmless, its visit focuses attention on the need to keep tracking all near-Earth asteroids and developing impact contingency plans.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How big is asteroid 2015 AK1?

A: Asteroid 2015 AK1 is approximately 160 feet (50 meters) in diameter, making it as big as a typical passenger jet plane.

Q: How fast will it be travelling during its flyby?

A: The asteroid will zip past at 47,608 km/hr, faster than the fastest intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Q: What is the closest the asteroid will come to Earth?

A: Its closest approach to Earth during the January 15 flyby is 6 million km away.

Q: Does this asteroid pose a threat to Earth?

A: No, at its closest point it is still 6 million km away, posing no impact threat according to NASA.

Q: What kind of asteroid is 2015 AK1?

A: It belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids that follow Earth-crossing orbits.

Q: How often does this asteroid pass by Earth?

A: 2015 AK1 approaches Earth once every 2.25 years as per its orbital period around the Sun.

Q: When will this asteroid visit Earth again after today?

A: It will pass Earth at a distance of 10.76 million km on May 22, 2071.


Asteroid 2015 AK1 is a sizable 160-foot space rock zooming past Earth today at a blistering pace of 47,608 km/hr. While its 6 million km flyby poses no danger, it highlights the importance of continually tracking near-Earth asteroids. NASA and other agencies keep constant watch and analyze orbits to detect potential impact risks early. While 2015 AK1 itself is not hazardous, its close shave reminds us of the latent risks asteroids can pose if trajectories ever shift. Continued research and preparedness are key to mitigating that risk.


The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. Details like asteroid size and speed are subject to change as NASA collects more data. For official data, please refer to NASA’s CNEOS page monitoring 2015 AK1’s trajectory.

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