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An asteroid that succeeds in reaching the size of a mountain, and that means about two thousand feet wide, has turned its direction towards Earth and will come very close to it in just a couple of hours. The asteroid will be clearly seen with binoculars or telescopes.
The monumental size of the flying rock, which NASA believes to be 1.800 feet transversely, will pass at about 745.000 miles from Earth, at its nearest point. As a comparison, the distance measures about three times the trip someone would make from the Earth to the moon, and six football fields. As a first sight, it doesn’t seem that close, but in spatial terms, it is right around the corner.
If NASA were to evaluate the importance of this asteroid for our planet, they would say that it surely is the grandest one passing the Earth for the next decade or more, taking into consideration that the next one with a similar size is predicted to pass us by somewhere in the year 2027. This track of this particular asteroid has been followed for a long time now, and scientists have observed that it orbits the Sun every 184 years, so it is certainly a once in a lifetime experience. The next time the asteroid will be our planet’s temporary neighbor again, we will be some hundred years older, at least. These data have been noted in a report made by Science Times magazine.
However, NASA has no worries about the asteroid crashing into the Earth or having any influence whatsoever on our planet, but the chance of discovering and paying attention to it is exclusive.
Don Yeomans, retiring manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office, said in a statement that the asteroid doesn’t pose any threat to Earth in the next future but because it is a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, it provides humanity an unique opportunity to observe and learn more. Mr. Yeomans also said with great excitement that he will grab his favorite binoculars and give it a shot himself, even if he most certainly has a more specific and professional apparatus to catch a glimpse of this compelling asteroid.
On the contrary, the radar astronomer Lance Benner believes that we shouldn’t draw the conclusions yet.
“There are bound to be surprises because we know almost nothing about the asteroid. […] Asteroids provide Earth with the building blocks of life and much of its water […] They become valuable resources for mineral ores and other vital natural resources.”
Image Source: Fox News