First there were talks of WWIII, then there were wild fires in Australia, then Kobe, followed by the Coronavirus. What else could possibly go wrong? Oh an astroid to end all humanity? Why you are correct!
Just when you thought the bad news couldn’t get worse, scientists are saying a large and “potentially hazardous” astroid is poised to fly by Earth next month.
Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 will make a close approach to Earth on April 29. The hefty space rock has an estimated diameter of 1.1 to 2.5 miles, or about the width of the Manhattan.
Though the astroid will fly relatively close, the rock poses no real threat to the planet, with its closest approach being 3.9 million miles from Earth, or about 6 times the distance from Earth to the moon.
NASA has classified asteroid 1998 OR2 as “potentially hazardous” not because it puts Earth in danger, but because it fulfills certain criteria in the agency’s classification scheme. According to NASA, an asteroid qualifies as “potentially hazardous” if its orbit ever intersects Earth’s orbit at a distance less than 4.6 million miles, or 0.05 astronomical units, the average distance between Earth and the sun.
Asteroid 1998 OR2, which orbits the sun in between the orbits of Earth and Mars, won’t fly by Earth again until May 18, 2031, and it will be farther away, passing about 12 million miles from our planet, according to NASA.
Its next two flybys, in 2048 and 2062, will be even farther away. The closest flyby of asteroid 1998 OR2 for the foreseeable future will be on April 16, 2079, when it will be only 1.1 million miles away.