The largest asteroid nurturing Earth in 2021 … will pass about two million kilometers from us on Sunday, March 21 – without the risk of collision, but astronomers are allowed to closely study this celestial body
Called 2001 FO32, it has a diameter of less than a kilometer, and it will orbit at 124,000 km / h, “faster than most asteroids” that pass close to Earth, according to NASA.
And the US space agency added: “There is no danger of colliding with our planet.” At its closest point, the asteroid will remain more than five times the distance between Earth and the moon.
This remains close enough to the point where it has been classified as “potentially dangerous,” according to official categories.
The asteroid was discovered in March 2001, and its trajectory has since been followed.
“Currently, not much is known about this object, so this close passage gives us a great opportunity to learn a lot” about it, said Lance Penner, a scientist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which the center relies on. Down to Earth (CNEOS).
By studying light reflected off its surface, researchers can, for example, get a better idea of its composition.
“Amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere and at low northern latitudes should be able to see this asteroid using medium-sized telescopes,” said Paul Chodas, director of CNEOS, in a statement.
There is no chance that any of the large asteroids listed on Earth will crash in the next century, and those that have not yet been discovered are unlikely to do so, NASA reassures.
However, she adds, “the more information we can gather about these things, the better mission designers can prepare to push them away if someone threatens the Earth.”