Do not be fooled by any hyped-up headlines you’ll have learned: This week’s asteroid flyby poses no menace to Earth or something on it. The large asteroid 1998 OR2 will zoom inside three.9 million miles (6.3 million kilometers) of our planet early Wednesday morning (April 29). Whereas that is an in-depth shave within the context of the seen universe, which is greater than 90 billion gentle-years broad, there’s zero likelihood that the area rock will hit Earth on this cross, scientists stress.
Certainly, at its closest approach, the roughly 1.5-mile-extensive (2.4 km) 1998 OR2 will nonetheless be about 16 instances farther from us than the moon is from the Earth. (The moon orbits Earth at a median distance of 239,000 miles or 385,000 km.) And you’ll let reduction hold washing over you, for we all know of no massive asteroids that might hurt us within the foreseeable future.
That checklist is fairly complete. NASA scientists assume they’ve discovered and tracked greater than 90% of the close to-Earth asteroids (NEAs), which are least 0.6 miles (1 km) huge, sufficiently big to pose a world risk to people ought to they line Earth up of their crosshairs.
However, such reduction shouldn’t breed complacency, mentioned each Chodas and Lindley Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer and program government of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office. In any case, the variety of NEAs out there’s huge, so some massive harmful ones should still lurk on the market undetected.
And asteroids generally get jostled this manner and that by the gravitational pulls of different objects, making it very troublesome to models their orbits over the very long run. Given sufficient time, these jostles will finally send a giant house rock screaming towards Earth, because the dinosaurs’ demise can attest.