RED FLEG! A potentially hazardous asteroid is threatening the Earth. According to NASA, the asteroid will get extremely close to our planet.
NASA’s asteroid trackers believe that the space rock will quickly cross by our planet a few minutes before midnight on Friday, January 10. This potential threat is taller than the Sears Tower in Chicago, measuring more than 1,800ft (550m) across.
The trajectory of the asteroid was confirmed by NASA’s tracker team back in October 2019. The space rock was named Asteroid 2019 UO, and it will make a “close approach” to Earth, said NASA. Since its first discovery, NASA’s experts have taken actions, calculating the rock’s size, the orbit, and the speed approaching Earth to determine whether it poses a threat to our planet or not.
The asteroid’s size is massive, and it will closely approach Earth. Therefore, NASA’s astronomers categorized it as a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA). “Potentially hazardous asteroids are about 150 meters – almost 500ft – or larger, roughly twice as big as the Statue of Liberty is tall,” said NASA.
The Massive Asteroid Won’t Hit Earth This Time
“Potentially hazardous comets also get unusually close to Earth. Knowing the size, shape, mass, composition, and structure of these objects helps determine the best way to divert one, should it have an Earth-threatening path,” added the space agency.
Even if an asteroid or comet trajectory seems harmless, the gravitational effects of other bodies in our solar system could push them towards Earth, therefore “this allows the possibility of a future collision,” said NASA. The Asteroid 2019 UO will approach the Earth at a speed of around 9.40km per second or 21,027mph (33,840lm/h).
According to the European Space Agency (ESA), there are currently 21,702 known as Near-Earth Objects (NEAs) that sometimes cross Earth’s orbit, from which 997 asteroids that could potentially pose a risk. Fortunately, Asteroid OU is not expected to hit the Earth next Friday, according to NASA.