NASA is tracking an 18,000mph asteroid twice the size of Big Ben that will pass Earth this month.
NASA’s monitors have confirmed that an asteroids whizzing through space at speeds of more than 18,000mph will make a safe “close pass” on Earth this month.
On the afternoon of July 24, asteroid 2008 GO20 will make its closest approach to Earth. The trajectory of the space rock was predicted by NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), and trackers have confirmed that GO20 will pass close enough to be categorized as a “close encounter.” The good news is that the asteroid does not pose a threat to our world.
Asteroid impacts have caused one of Earth’s seven major extinctions in the past, so it’s heartening to know that astronomers are keeping a close check on the night skies.
Near-Earth objects (NEOs) can occasionally approach Earth as they orbit the Sun, according to NASA.
“Keep in mind that an astronomically ‘close’ passage can be millions or tens of millions of kilometers away in human terms.”
GO20 will pass Earth from a “close” yet safe distance of 0.03283 astronomical units in this circumstance.
The average distance between our planet and the Sun is around 93 million miles, which is measured in astronomical units (149 million km).
As a result, the asteroid will pass almost unnoticed from a distance of more than 3.05 million miles (4.91 million kilometers), more than 12 times that of the Moon.
However, there is still reason to be concerned about this asteroid’s approach.
GO20 is a large object, comparable in scale to some of London’s most famous monuments.
According to NASA, the asteroid measures between 302 and 688 feet (92 and 210 meters) wide.
According to these measurements, GO20 is almost the same size as or twice the size of Big Ben’s clock tower in Westminster.
The asteroid is traveling through space at a speed of 8.18 kilometers per second, or 18,299 miles per hour.
The world’s fastest jet plane, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, only manages 2,100 miles per gallon.
As far as scientists can tell, no asteroid or comet is currently or in the next few hundred years posing a threat to our planet’s safety.
Occasionally, however, a small object will elude our radars and collide with the planet’s atmosphere.
As of June 2021, there were more than 26,100 near-Earth asteroids whizzing about the solar system.
The most well-known case of a tiny asteroid being captured. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”