NASA Asteroid WARNING: 60-meter space rock on approach to Earth tonight | Science | New

The impressive asteroid named Asteroid 2015 WO15 will make its closest approach to Earth around 20h16 GMT (UTC) today. This flyby marks the third Earth approach close to the asteroid since December 20, 1923, when space rock crossed the Earth for the first time. Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, estimate that the WO15 is between 264 and 590.5 feet (80 to 180 meters). ). At both ends of the size estimate, the asteroid would be incredibly cataclysmic if it hit a city or an urban area.

The upper part of NASA's estimate suggests that the space rock is higher than the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

An asteroid of this size is almost twice as high as the New York Statue of Liberty and measures 16 times the length of a London Routemaster double-decker bus.

Even the smallest estimate is one-third the height of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and half the height of the Blackpool Tower.

The asteroids within these two extremes are some of the most dangerous interstellar objects that cross the space daily.

And the European Space Agency (ESA) estimates that most of these objects have not even been spotted yet.

READ MORE: Asteroid impact hazard NASA 2023: the asteroid twice as big as Big Ben could SMASH Earth

The ESA said: "Any impact of any of these elements could actually damage a city or populated area.

"But if they are discovered early enough, their point of impact could be estimated with a good degree of accuracy and steps could be taken to protect people."

Fortunately, the risk of seeing the planet WO15 hit Earth so early is minimal and almost zero.

But the asteroid will pass close enough to the Earth to be dubbed near Earth object (NEO) on a near Earth approach path.

READ MORE: Rogue asteroids could erase life on Earth, warns Stephen Hawking

NEOs are all small objects in space, such as asteroids and comets, whose closest approach to the sun is less than 120.4 million km (194.4 million km) .

NEOs that are more than 140 meters in diameter are considered potentially hazardous objects (PHAs).

Tonight, asteroid W015 is expected to exceed Earth by no more than 0.03494 astronomical unit (AU) or 13.6 km (Lunar Distances).

An astronomical unit is the measure of the distance from Earth to the Sun, about 93 million miles (149.5 million km).

The asteroid WO15 will significantly reduce this distance to only 5.22 million kilometers (3.24 million miles).

This is the equivalent of 13.6 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

NASA stated: "When they gravitate around the Sun, objects close to the Earth can sometimes approach the Earth.

"Note that a" near "passage astronomically can be very far in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometers."

Once the asteroid has safely crossed the Earth, it will perform another Earth Close approach on July 30, 2023 and December 26, 2091.

Source link