So, on Feb. 4 a scary asteroid larger than any skyscraper yet built will pass by Earth. It will be approaching within about 10 times the distance from Earth to the moon.
The asteroid will be about 2.6 million miles (4.2 million kilometers) at the closest point. The giant space rock is about 0.3 to 0.75 miles (0.5 to 1.2 km) in diameter.
However, tabloids around the internet are freaking out. The word “doomsday” is written everywhere. And papers are talking about how the asteroid will be boiling away an ocean and stuff like this.
On Friday, a concerned citizen sent NASA a link to a report that the asteroid was on a collision course to kill us all. He asked why the agency wasn’t talking about it.
“Because it is a lie,” NASA tweeted in Spanish.
So, it is not going to hit us. NASA representatives say there’s no chance that it will collide with Earth.
Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make a close approach to Earth on Feb. 4, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. PST (4:30 p.m. EST). At the time of closest approach, the asteroid will be at a distance of 2.6 million miles, or 4.2 million kilometers — about 10 times the distance between Earth and the moon. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
AJ129 is one of the hundreds of asteroids of a certain size that have flown or will fly within 4.65 million miles of Earth and are therefore classified by NASA as “potentially hazardous.”
Scientists predict that none of them will hit us.
Just this week, two space rocks came significantly closer to our planet.
According to NASA’s Solar System Dynamics website and the Minor Planet Center, asteroid 2018 BD with the size of a car came to within 0.09 times the distance from the Earth to the moon (about 21,500 miles or 34,600 km). Also, another car-size asteroid, Asteroid 2018 BX, came close to Earth late Friday night (U.S. Eastern time on Jan. 19). It flew past Earth at a distance of about 0.073 times the distance from the Earth to the moon (about 174,400 miles or 280,670 km).
NASA did designate 2002 AJ129 as a “potentially hazardous” asteroid. But NASA gives this designation to any asteroid larger than about 460 feet (140 m) in diameter that gets closer than 4.65 million miles (7.48 million km) to Earth.
Thumbnail image: An illustration of a near-Earth object, or NEO, flying by Earth. Credit: NASA