According to NASA, the asteroid dubbed as 52768 (1998 OR2) was supposed to pass besides the Earth on Wednesday i.e April 29, 2020. It was reported that the asteroid will pass the earth on 10:56 BST. The space rock was initially spotted first in the solar system back in 1998 and has tracked since then by Center for Near-Earth Object Studies which is led by NASA.
The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies has categorized the 1198 OR2 asteroid as a potentially hazardous object. The asteroid has been categorised so as it has flown past the surface of the earth at regular intervals. But it has also been cleared by NASA that the asteroid will not come close to the surface of the Earth as it will fly by at a distance of 6.2 million kilometres. The distance between earth and moon is reported to be 3,85,000 kilometres which makes the asteroid almost 16 times farther away from the surface of planet Earth.
NASA has claimed that the asteroid has an apparent speed of 19 thousand kilometres per hour. Even though the 1998 OR2 asteroid has been identified as a potentially hazardous object (PHO), multiple scientists across the globe have confirmed that it does not possess any danger to Earth. A potentially hazardous object is classified when it is bigger than 500 feet and comes within an eight million kilometres radius of Earth. It is reported that the 1998 OR2 asteroid is 1.2 miles wide.
As per reports, it would be over 40 years before 1998 OR2 passes through earth again but its activity will be actively tracked by NASA and other space organizations. According to Flavaine Venditti, a researcher at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, in 2079, the 1998 OR2 asteroid will pass about 3.5 times closer than in 2020. Though the asteroid is not an imminent threat to planet Earth now, it could become one in the future.
Asteroid 1998 OR2 poses no threat to our planet, but we can still learn a lot by studying it. Don't miss a special #planetarydefense episode of NASA Science Live this Mon. 4/27 at 3PM EDT to learn about what #asteroids and near-Earth Objects can teach us: https://t.co/tMoV2wwS6g pic.twitter.com/1Ej1roN9mn— NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) April 24, 2020