NEW YORK / PARIS (dpa) – The most likely largest asteroid, which scientists estimate will approach Earth this year, will fly over our planet on Sunday (March 21).
The US space agency “NASA” announced that the celestial body named “2001 FO32” with a diameter of several hundred meters, will approach the Earth to about two million kilometers. This is more than five times the distance from Earth to the Moon.
According to NASA, there is no risk of a collision – neither now nor in the future. “It is stable, and not in a risky path,” said Detlev Koschen, an asteroid expert from the European Space Agency (ESA) from the German news agency DPA.
“We know the orbit of ‘2001 FO32’ around the sun very well,” said Paul Chodas of the Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects in California. “We’ve been tracking it since it was discovered 20 years ago.” “It is impossible for the asteroid to approach Earth more than two million kilometers.”
With the right equipment, Koschen said, amateur astronomers can also see the asteroid. Two million kilometers is nothing in the distance of the solar system.
According to the information, “2001 FO32”, which orbits the sun once every 810 days, will fly through the Earth at a speed of about 124,000 kilometers per hour – and will only approach it again in 2052 after that. NASA scientists want to take the opportunity during the flight to closely examine the asteroid. “We don’t know much about him,” Koschin said.
Esa has its own software for looking at things that are important to Earth. “2001 FO32” – if he wasn’t flying at a harmless distance – his size would be a perfect candidate for trying to distract him from his career in order to avoid a potential collision with the ground. Koschin said that an asteroid of this size could destroy an entire country. For comparison: the explosion of a 20-meter plot of land in 2013 wreaked havoc in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. The shock wave injured about 1,500 people.
Just last year, Esa started an asteroid defense project named after the Greek goddess Hera. The goal is to study how NASA’s probe affects an asteroid.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210319-99-887947 / 2