An asteroid about as long as the Great Pyramid of Giza is high will make a “close” approach to Earth on Sunday (July 25), according to NASA calculations.
There is no worry that the space rock poses any threat to it World, but NASA monitors such rocks to both learn more about the beginning solar system – asteroids have been rock fragments since then – and because if their orbits were to change, the asteroid could pose a future risk to Earth.
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On its closest approach, the near-Earth asteroid, called the 2008 GO20, will swing within 2.8 million miles (4.5 million kilometers) of our blue marble. According to news reports, it will be trekking at 18,000 mph (almost 29,000 km / h).
The rock is estimated to be anywhere from 318 to 720 feet (97 to 220 meters) around. (The Great Pyramid of Giza is 450 feet long, or 138 m long.) Any space rock larger than about 490 feet (150 m) around which is expected to crawl around the Earth within 4.6 million miles (7.5 million km). ) is considered a potentially dangerous asteroid (PHA); The NASA Center for Near Earth Purpose Studies monitors all PHAs. For comparison, that distance is 19.5 times the range between the Earth and the moon.
And in reality, that distance doesn’t hold a candle to the nearest known flyby of an asteroid (at least one we didn’t enter), which occurred on August 16, 2020, when HQ 2020 zipped just 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers). ) above the Indian Ocean, reported the sister site Live Science Space.com. Such a small space rock poses no danger to life on Earth.
On the other hand, the 2008 GO20 is “potentially dangerous” because over time the gravitational pull of the planets could change the orbital path of the object to cross the Earth’s orbit. If that happens, a future collision with our planet is possible, NASA said.
This is not the first time the 2008 GO20 has visited Earth headquarters. It made its closest approach on August 4, 1901, when the asteroid swung to 806,856 miles (1.3 million km) of our planet, according to NASA records. Its next nearest flyby occurred on July 31, 1935 at a distance of 1.15 million miles (1.85 million km) from Earth. The next flight from Earth, on 24 July, 20342008 GO20 will approach up to 3.1 million miles (5 million km).
Originally published on Live Science.