The asteroid will approach Earth tonight, but “it will not hit us,” NASA Science assures
An asteroid the size of a delivery truck will hurtle past Earth on Friday morning. This will be one of the closest asteroids we’ve ever seen. NASA confirms that the asteroid will not hit Earth.
NASA said on Wednesday that this newly discovered asteroid will fly 3,600 kilometers above the southern tip of South America. This is ten times closer than many of the communications satellites orbiting Earth.
The approach will take place at 1:27 a.m. Friday, BST. Even if the space rock gets too close, scientists say most of it will burn up in the atmosphere and some large pieces could fall off as meteors.
NASA’s collision risk estimation system, Scout, quickly ruled out an impact, according to its developer, Davide Farnocchia. “However, despite the very small number of observations, it is still possible to predict that the asteroid will be extremely close to Earth,” Farnokia said in a statement. “In fact, this is one of the closest approaches ever recorded by an object known.”
Dozens of notes
The asteroid discovered on Saturday, known as 2023 BU, has a diameter of 3.5 to 8.5 meters. It was seen for the first time by the same amateur astronomer in Crimea, Gennady Borisov, who discovered an interstellar comet in 2019. Within a few days, dozens of observations were made by astronomers around the world, helping them to tune in to the asteroid’s orbit.
The asteroid’s trajectory will be drastically altered by Earth’s gravity as it passes by. Instead of orbiting the sun every 359 days, it will enter an elliptical orbit for 425 days, according to NASA.
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