The largest asteroid to approach Earth in 2021 will pass about two million kilometers away on Sunday, March 21, without risk of collision, but it will allow astronomers to study this celestial object more closely.
Named 2001 FO32 and less than a kilometer in diameter, it will pass 124,000 km / h, “faster than most asteroids” that circulate close to Earth, according to the POT.
“No risk of collision with our planet, “explained the US space agency. At its closest point, the asteroid will still be at a distance more than five times greater than that between the Earth and the Moon.
Thousands of astroids circulate throughout the galaxy. NASA monitors their movements.
A separation considered, however, close enough to be classified as “potentially dangerous”, according to official categories. The asteroid was discovered in March 2001 and its trajectory has been followed ever since.
“Actually, we know little about this object, so this very close meeting gives us an incredible opportunity to learn a lot “about him, he valued Lance Benner, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on which the Center for the Study of Proximate Earth Objects (CNEOS).
By studying the light reflected from its surface, researchers can, for example, get a better idea of its composition. “Amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere and in the low northern latitudes they should be able to see this asteroid using moderate-sized telescopes, “he estimated. Paul Chodas, director of the CNEOS, quoted in a statement released by the AFP agency.
An asteroid impact against Earth could create catastrophe for humanity, but NASA claims there is no danger of collision for at least the next century.
None of the cataloged large asteroids have a chance of crashing into Earth in the next century, and it is highly unlikely that those that remain to be discovered will be able to do so, NASA reassured.
Still, he adds, “the more information we can gather about objects, the better mission designers can prepare to divert them if one ever threatens Earth.”
NASA took advantage of the moment to report on the asteroid 2001 FO32, which can reach 1.7 kilometers in diameter, and is comparable to the Golden Gate Bridge, in the city of San Francisco.
The date to see it is March 21, 2021, and its closest approach to Earth will occur at 16:03 UTC. Then, its closest point will be 2,016,351 kilometers, almost five times the distance from Earth to the Moon.
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