Two space rocks are set to fly by Earth, but there’s no cause for concern as they don’t pose a threat to our safety.
The Two Space Rocks
The two space rocks are the asteroids 2018 CB and 2018 CC, and they were actually just discovered on Sunday through an automated telescope search called the Catalina Sky Survey, reports NASA’s Minor Planet Center. Space.com reports that the Catalina telescopes are just one of many observatories worldwide that automatically scan the sky to look for asteroids, such as the two space rocks that are set to make a pass near Earth.
Both the 2018 CB and 2018 CC are around the same size as a space rock that exploded over Cheylabinsk, Russia, in 2013. While the asteroid in Russia caused thousands of injuries, we won’t see any impact here on Earth from these two space rocks. Both of the asteroids are relatively large, measuring at around 56 feet wide, but given the huge distances in space, the danger of these bodies is negligible.
Space.com reports that the majority of asteroids in Earth’s solar system orbit the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and as such we see an asteroid flyby near Earth several times a year. With the most recent flyby occurring on Sunday, February 4, these two space rocks will be the second flyby in just a few days.
While the two space rocks are a long ways from Earth, we’ll still be able to see them via live streams of the flybys courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project.
The first of the two space rocks has actually already passed us by just a few minutes ago, but the second space rock will pass Earth on February 10 at 5:06 AM EST, at roughly 20% of the distance from the Earth to the moon. The livestream on the Virtual Telescope Project will be broadcast only from Italy at around 3 pm EST.
“Potentially Hazardous” Asteroids
Many asteroids that come within the vicinity of Earth are classified as “potentially hazardous,” but that classification is a bit of a misnomer. While it’s true that these potentially hazardous asteroids could impact Earth, the reality of the situation is that the vast majority of these bodies are a huge distance away from our planet. Any body that has the potential to impact Earth now or at some point in the future is labeled as potentially hazardous, but the majority of them won’t get dangerously close to Earth for hundreds or thousands of years – if at all.
At this point in time, there are no known asteroids that pose an imminent threat to Earth. However, NASA and their partners are currently trying to figure out a way in order to destroy potentially threatening objects. While there are no concrete plans yet, various options have included nets, lasers, gravitational diversion, or even just blowing up the space rock. In the near future, if an asteroid were to truly pose a threat, the space agency may be able to address that.
While many media outlets may make a big deal out of occurrences like these two space rocks coming close to Earth, there’s truly no cause for alarm.