An asteroid close to Earth

There are many more than you think. The asteroids that travel around us (some farther than others) are numerous. But not all have a considerable diameter. Like the one that is approaching. It is a large asteroid between 1.8 and 4.1 kilometers in diameter. An asteroid close to Earth on April 29. This is stated by the CNEOS (Center for Near Earth Object Studies) of NASA.

An asteroid close to Earth, again. But not so close.
An asteroid close to Earth, again. But not so close.

Close but not so

Called ‘52768 (1998 OR2)‘, it was discovered by NASA in 1998. It was classified "potentially dangerous" because it had an orbit closer to 0.05 astronomical units. An astronomical unit is the average distance between Earth and the Sun. This asteroid will pass almost six million kilometers from us (0.04 astronomical units). No need to worry. There is very little chance that their passage will cause any kind of consequence. Except, of course, the exhilaration of the astronomers who follow its course.

In reality, many bodies are approaching Earth's orbit. However, they are not usually as large as ‘52768 (1998 OR2)’. Of that size, only six asteroids approach Earth. However, work to locate and control asteroids is vital to the safety of our planet. Just imagine a body of this size crashing onto our planet. It could be devastating to life on Earth, as the event that wiped out the dinosaurs demonstrated. For this reason, there are already some plans from different space agencies (including the European Space Agency or ESA) to face a possible asteroid impact against our planet. There are even programs like HERA or DART running to test the effectiveness of these theoretical plans.

It turns out that there are many asteroids that travel there, not so far away.
It turns out that there are many asteroids that travel there, not so far away.
Small but dangerous

There are about 900 near-Earth objects that are over a kilometer in diameter. However, the problem is not the size. These rocks are much easier to observe with the available technology. So it's easier to predict its orbit. The issue becomes more complicated with small rocks, which cannot be seen at great distances. That reduces the reaction time from Earth.

It is calculated that only 0.05% of NEOs between 30 and 100 meters in length are controlled. But things change with rocks less than 30 meters. We only know 0.01%. An example? The meteorite that exploded over the sky in the Russian town of Chelyabinsk and caused more than 1,000 injuries and damage to hundreds of houses was only 19 meters in diameter. "It is those we do not know that concern us," Fast said.

These threats are seen in real time on pages such as the NASA JPL Center or ESA's NEOs portal. If there is an asteroid close to Earth, you will find it there. And you can also find out how likely it is that it will get closer to the account … which, obviously, we do not want to happen.

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