NASA has warned that a large-sized asteroid might be getting closer to Earth at a very high speed. They named it as ‘2016 NF23’. According to their estimate, it is bigger in size than the London Eye with an estimated diameter of up to 160m. Due to its high speed, it could be potentially hazardous to our planet.
Are there any chances of collision of the Asteroid with Earth?
The scientists have classified NF23 as an “Atens” body, which means that its orbit comes into the vicinity of Earth. According to one of the planetary defense officers at the Headquarters of NASA in Washington, the asteroid posed no risk to us on Earth. They have merely designated the object as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) because its orbit over time wings it within five million miles of the orbit of the Earth. However, there is nothing hazardous to Earth or even unique about this pass of the asteroid.
As well know that the London Eye is 135m high which is 50m than the St Pauls cathedral. The scientists estimated that the asteroid is about 20m bigger in size than the London Eye. The time when it made its closest approach to Earth, it was around 3 million miles away from our planet. At that time, it was traveling at a staggering speed of 20,000mph. This means it was traveling about 15 times faster than the retired Concorde with a maximum speed of 1,354mph.
Although the asteroid is still at a distance of 3million miles from our planet, yet the scientists deem it as a danger to us. All because of its size and staggering speed. According to the scientists, an asteroid can be registered as “potentially hazardous” which is within 4,650,000 miles from Earth, having a diameter larger than 500 feet. They fear that if it hits the Earth, an entire city might get destroyed causing millions of deaths.
For how many Years we might be Safe from an Asteroid Strike?
The scientists at NASA track the projected path of the space and its close proximity to Earth by using Small-Body Database Browser. It is installed in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA has confirmed that no asteroid or comet is on a collision course with Earth currently. So, the probability of any major collision is negligible. Moreover, they believe that no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.
Before the close encounter of our planet with 2016 NF23, a slightly smaller 130m-wide asteroid skimmed past us very closely at a distance of 126,419 miles. The astronomers also detected an asteroid known as “2010 WC9” which was originally lost about eight years ago. At that time, they claimed that it was the closest pass for this particular asteroid for the next 300 years. In their opinion, the astronomers need to detect as many of the near-Earth objects as possible to be able to better calculate the statistics.