NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Objects has recently warned that an asteroid bigger than a Boeing 747 jet is set to collide with Earth’s orbit on October 7. The US space agency is tracking the space rock 2020 RK2, which is currently on a trajectory to collide with Earth’s orbit. The asteroid has been classed an ‘Apollo asteroid’ and astrologists at NASA had first spotted the space rock last month.
The asteroid is going to be hurtling through space at a speed of 6.68 kilometres per second and is estimated to range from 36 metres to 81 metre in diameter, which is almost a width of 118-256 foot. Based in the estimated size, the US space agency believes that the space rock can be bigger than the wingspan of a Boeing-747 8 series aeroplane that is almost 68.5 metres wide.
Despite coming in close to the Earth’s orbit, astronomers have, however, said that it is unlikely for them to see it from Earth. The asteroid will be hurtling past Earth at about 1:12pm EST or 6:12 British Summertime. Further, NASA revealed that the chances of it causing any real damage is ‘extremely unlikely’ and it is going to cross our planet’s orbit as safely.
The space rock will be rushing past Earth at a distance of 38,27,797 kilometres away. Once the asteroid safely goes past Each, it is not going to visit the orbit before August 2027. NASA had estimated that several dozens of asteroid fly ‘near’ Earth each year. However, most of them are way smaller than 2020 RK2 and they rarely touch the Earth’s orbit. A large number of space rocks also simply fly past undetected.
According to a report on NASA’s JPL website, in the past Asteroid, 2020 SW flew by close to Earth on Sept 24. At its closest approach, the space rock was 0.00019 astronomical units away from Earth’s surface. In miles, this is 17661.6 miles. This was one of the closest asteroid approaches in recent times. This distance was also well below many of the communications satellites orbiting our planet. The closest approach occurred over the southeastern Pacific Ocean.