An asteroid is flying previous Earth as we speak.
Although it is called a “doubtlessly hazardous asteroid” due to its comparatively shut passes, the item will solely come inside 3.5 million kilometres – so distant that it’ll not be seen with the bare eye and poses no speedy hazard.
The asteroid, named 2017 AE3, is travelling quick. It’ll fly previous at 20 kilometres per second, earlier than flying off into area – to not return till 2109.
It’s someplace between 116 and 259 metres throughout. That’s comparatively small for an asteroid, although at roughly the dimensions of a bus it’s nonetheless giant sufficient to make a major impression if it did crash into Earth.
Nasa tracks an enormous quantity of such objects, which it calls “near-Earth objects” or NEOs. Something that comes inside 120 million miles of Earth – “close to” solely within the phrases of the photo voltaic system – is given the designation.
The area company is tasked with monitoring the orbit of such objects exactly. Even the smallest change of their route may ship them in direction of Earth, and so an consciousness of the place all such objects are in area is a key a part of defending the planet from hazard.
That work is led by Nasa’s Planetary Protection Coordination Workplace. That works not solely to catalogue these objects but additionally to work throughout the US authorities to organize for any doable impression.
Final month, Nasa launched its “Dart” mission, which is able to slam into an asteroid to see whether or not it could be doable to shunt any doable harmful object which may come in direction of is sooner or later out of our approach.