There are millions of asteroids and meteorites scattered throughout the solar system and in some cases, they fly in our direction. NASA announced that three massive asteroids will fly past Earth this week. However, they will not slam into our home planet as the closest one will come within 2.2 million miles (3.5 million kilometers) of Earth.
This distance is about 10 times the average distance between Earth and the moon. When should we be expecting these asteroids? Continue reading to find out.
When the three Skyscraper-sized asteroids will fly past Earth
NASA announced that the three asteroids will not be flying across Earth at the same time. The first visitor is the 2012 DK31 and it will blast past Earth on Monday (February 27) at a distance of about 3 million miles (4.8 million kilometers). Scientists measured the asteroid to be about 450 feet (137 meters) across.
This is about the width of a 40-story skyscraper. Astronomers revealed that its orbit around the sun crosses the orbit of our planet every few years. Hence, after this flyby, asteroid 2012 DK31 will not be making another close flyby to Earth for some years. this space rock does not stand as an imminent threat to living species on Earth. However, NASA still identifies it as a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) because of its enormous size and shape.
Keep in mind that PHA is an asteroid that is large enough and has its orbit close enough to Earth that it could cause a severe impact if its trajectory alters and it slammed into Earth. NASA carefully mapped the trajectory of asteroid 2012 DK31 for the next 200 years and discovered that the hazardous space rock will not be colliding with our home planet. This implies that we are safe from the devastating impact of this massive asteroid in the future.
On Tuesday, February 28, the second large asteroid will be making a close flyby to Earth. This asteroid is named 2006 BE55 and it is estimated to be about 450 feet across. It will make its close flyby at a distance of about 2.2 million miles (3.5 million kilometers). Astronomers revealed that this giant space rock flies across Earth’s orbit every four or five years. This implies that after flying across Earth on Feb. 28, the asteroid will be visiting our orbit again in either 2027 or 2028.
On Friday, March 3, another skyscraper-sized asteroid about 250 feet (76 m) will be flying across Earth at a distance of about 3.3 million miles (5.3 million kilometers). This last space rock is named 2021 QW. Even though it is not massive enough to be classified as a PHA, it can still cause a devastating impact if it eventually changes its trajectory and slammed into Earth. The space rock flies past the earth every few years. It may eventually visit our orbit again before the end of this decade.
Will any of these Asteroids Slam into Earth?
These three giant asteroids discovered by NASA will safely fly across our home planet without slamming with Earth. Asteroid 2006 BE55 which will be flying across Earth on February 28 is the only massive asteroid that will be making the closest approach to Earth at a distance of 2.2 million miles (3.5 million kilometers).
At this great distance, the asteroid will never reach our home planet. So, we have nothing to worry about these three giant asteroids.
Why Scientists pay attention to Space Rocks that are flying across Earth at Millions of Miles Away
There are several space rocks in our solar system. Some of these massive asteroids often move close to our home planet from time to time. Scientists often pay close attention to these space rocks as slight changes in their trajectory could send nearby rocks into collision with Earth. This change in trajectory could be influenced by the gravity of a planet or the impact of another asteroid.
NASA’s calculation revealed that none of these asteroids will be slamming into Earth for the next 100 years. NASA recently completed its Double Asteroid Redirection Testing (DART) mission to figure out how to redirect asteroids in the future. With the way we are moving, we may soon figure out how to defend our home planet from an asteroid impact in the future.
These three skyscraper-sized asteroids heading towards Earth will not be slamming into Earth because of the distance separating us from the giant space rocks. However, space agencies should focus more on developing asteroid defense systems to protect our home planet from possible asteroid collisions in the future. What do you think about these asteroids’ flyby?