Although there are thousands of asteroids passing through the Earth’s orbit, the likes of Asteroid 2002 NN4 are what causes concern among the scientists. Moreover, there are instances where asteroids fully come in contact with the Earth’s atmosphere and end up creating catastrophic damage.
Asteroid 2002 NN4 is approximated to be 250-570 meters (820-1,870 feet) in diameter. NASA scientists even compared the asteroid to New York City’s iconic Empire State Building, which is more than 1,400 feet tall. Owing to that, the impact of NN4 hitting the Earth’s orbit is already formidable.
Although NASA confirms that the asteroid will come in a relatively close manner, Asteroid 2002 NN4 will only pass by the Earth at a very safe distance. Furthermore, the asteroid will pass the Earth on Saturday.
Fortunately, the NN4 will keep its distance from the Earth at more than 3 million miles away. Additionally, the asteroid is 13 times farther from the Earth than the moon. That being said, it would stay in its orbit.
The asteroid is traveling at 11,146 kilometers per hour. The potential damage if and when the asteroid hits the Earth is very cataclysmic. Derek Buzasi, professor of physics at Florida Gulf Coast University said,
“It’s traveling at more than 20,000 mph — so the damage 2002 NN4 could inflict on earth is catastrophic.”
Buzasi also explained that the NN4 is bigger than the other ones. It appears that the Asteroid 2002 NN4 is classified as Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA), and Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA).
The widget is an important tool to track down asteroids and comets that relatively travel close to the Earth’s proximity. Stargazers can use the widget to keep track of asteroids while making astronomical observations.
According to NASA, the widget displays information such as the date of closest approach, approximate object diameter, relative size, and distance from Earth for each encounter. It also displays the next five Earth approaches to within 4.6 million miles (7.5 million kilometers or 19.5 times the distance to the moon). An object more massive than about 150 meters that can approach the Earth to within this distance is termed as a potentially hazardous object.
Scientists around the world gathered in Maryland for a conference. They discussed the possibility of asteroid encounter. Dr. Lori Glaze, director of planetary science at NASA explained,
“All we have to do is change its speed a little faster or a little slower so that when it crosses Earth’s orbit, it crosses either in front of us or behind us.”
Image courtesy Of THE MAGNUM/YouTube Screenshot
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