Space hits the headlines once again this week and this time it doesn’t concern far away objects or potential missions to Mars, but rather an asteroid.
In fact this particular space story involves an object that will pass incredibly close to Earth. An asteroid is set to fly past our planet on March 7, passing within 11,000 miles.
A close shave but asteroid poses no immediate danger to Earth
By way of comparison, the moon is 250,000 miles away, meaning that in space terms this will be a very close shave. ‘It’s gonna be close. But it’s going to miss us. There is nothing to worry about,’ said Gerald McKeegan of the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland.
According to scientists, there is no danger that we will be hit by the space rock. However it will fly underneath some communications satellites. The 100 foot wide space rock has been christened Asteroid 2013 TX68.
Keen space watchers may remember an asteroid that broke up over Russia three years ago. It was 65 feet wide but fortunately broke up in the atmosphere before it could hit Earth. If an asteroid the same size as 2013 TX68 entered our atmosphere, scientists believe it would cause an air burst twice as strong..
Keen space watchers should keep their eyes on the sky
However researchers at NASA’s Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have said that there is zero chance of the asteroid impacting Earth.
The asteroid made its last flyby of Earth in 2013, during which scientists were able to track it for three days before losing it in daytime skies. This time around it will be difficult to spot. “It will be hard to predict where to look for it,” said NASA’s Paul Chodas, who manages the Near-Earth Objects Studies office. “The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates are far too small to be of any real concern,” he continued.
An asteroid impact is a real concern for scientists, who have developed a disarmingly simple method for diverting the course of space objects. Instead of any sophisticated technology, any potential asteroid collision will be averted by slamming a spacecraft into it.