An asteroid with a diameter of approximately 650 metres is set to fly by Earth next month.
About the asteroid
The giant space rock, officially known as 2000 QW7, will come within 5.3 million kilometers when it will pass by our planet on September 14, as reported by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), which is part of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
Is it really that far away?
The distance between us and the asteroid (at its closest point to Earth) is equivalent to about 14 times the distance between Earth and the Moon, and while this might seem like it’s a lot, it’s actually considered a relatively close call.
The speed that the asteroid will travel at was determined to be about 23,100 km/h.
The good news is that, according to CNEOS, the asteroid will pass by Earth in 2038.
However, there is another colossal space rock en route to a very close meet-up with the blue planet in 2029. At its closest point, the asteroid, dubbed as the “God of Chaos” (or more commonly Apophis), will fly closer to human civilization than weather satellites do, and it will travel at an astounding speed of about 40,000 km/h, which NASA explained as traveling “more than the width of the full moon within a minute”.
Elon Musk raises awareness
Billionaire founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk drew attention to Apophis last week via a tweet when he simply stated:
“ Great name! Wouldn’t worry about this particular one, but a big rock will hit Earth eventually & we currently have no defense. “
While this asteroid has a very slim chance of impacting Earth, it’s at least worrying to say that we are pretty much defenseless in case of a hypothetical impact.
However, we’ll end this article on a more positive note by saying that the close call will be a great opportunity for scientists to study the asteroid and perhaps uncover further mysteries of the universe, which is great!