SHOULD WE WORRY? A DANGEROUS ASTEROID will spring next to the Earth tomorrow
An asteroid classified as “potentially dangerous” is heading for Earth and will pass by it tomorrow. However, scientists say that there is no reason to worry because the space rock will be 10 million kilometers away from our planet in the nearest passage, “Fox5” reported.
Asteroid 3200 Phaeton orbits the Sun, and this will be its closest passage to the Earth since 1974, the American space agency NASA announced. His next close passage to Earth will not happen until 2093.
Despite being classified as “potentially dangerous”, scientists point out that there is no chance that this asteroid will hit the Earth.
It is believed that exactly 3200 Phaeton is the cause of the annual meteor shower of Geminids, which peaked last Thursday.
Astronomers almost unanimously agree that no asteroid, especially those close to Earth, will hit it during our lifetime, however if we are ever hit by one the size of 3,200 Phaetons, there could be serious damage.
Boston University astronomy professor Michael Mendilo says that the 3200 Phaeton is one of those objects that can cause a catastrophic collision, but that the probability of that happening is extremely small.
Scientists have said they cannot rule out a potential collision with asteroid 99942 Apophis, but it will not come close to Earth until 2029.
This is one in a series of close asteroid passages lately. In August, Floren, a rock about 4 meters wide, “waved” the Earth from a safe 7 million kilometers, which is approximately 18 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
In October, the 2012 asteroid TC4, between 15-30 meters wide, passed by our planet at a distance of 41,000 kilometers, which was used to test the Earth’s international warning network.
If an asteroid ever threatens Earth, NASA has a plan. In June, the American agency presented computer models of techniques that can be applied, with the intention of making simulations of the response to various scenarios of possible asteroid impacts.
It happened after an asteroid hit 2013 in Chelyabinsk, Russia, when more than 1,200 people were injured and buildings 100 kilometers away were damaged. In 2016, NASA opened a new office to track asteroids and comets passing near Earth, known as the Coordinating Office for Planetary Defense (PDCO).
The US space agency has been studying near-Earth objects since the 1970s. More than 15,000 copies have been registered in the catalog of the famous “stones”.