The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has warned of a massive asteroid, travelling at the speed of 48,000 kilometres per hour, is expected to whiz past Earth this week.
According to NASA, “Asteroid 2020 ND” will move past Earth on July 24. There are also reports of two other asteroids expected to whiz past Earth on Sunday named 2016 DY30 and 2020 ME3, reported Business Insider.
“Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth. Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of 0.05 au or less are considered PHAs,” NASA said in a statement.
NASA said asteroid 2020 ND is about 170 metre-long will be as close as 0.034 astronomical units (5,086,328 kilometres) to our planet.
It added, 2016 DY30 is headed in the direction of Earth at a speed of 54,000 kilometres per hour whereas 2020 ME3 is travelling at 16,000 kilometres per hour. The 2016 DY30 is the smaller asteroid of the two as it is 15 feet wide.
NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has revealed that the 2016 DY30 will be as close as about 0.02306 astronomical units to Earth which translates to 3.4 million kilometres. “The closest approach of the bigger asteroid will be on July 19 at 10:02 AM IST. It has been classified as an Apollo asteroid because it crosses Earth’s path while travelling around the sun,” it said.
It added that the 2020 ME3 will be farther away from Earth when it reaches its closest distance to the planet at 02:51 AM IST the next day (July 21). “The expected distance from Earth of the smaller asteroid is about 0.03791 astronomical units which translate to 5.6 million kilometres. It has been labelled as an Amor asteroid as it does not cross Earth’s path and only flies close to Earth on several occasions,” the Centre added. However, these two asteroids don’t pose a threat to our planet, NASA added.—INP