Asteroids: NASA spots potentially hazardous rock approaching Earth

Potentially Hazardous Asteroid That Buzzed Earth Was Travelling With Its Own Moon

Asteroid PZ39 will approach the planet on Saturday, February 15, on what has been called a "close approach". Asteroids this small, if in case it should collide with Earth, would most likely burn up upon contact with the atmosphere.

PZ39 is an Apollo asteroid, which means it intersects the path of our planet quite often while moving around the Sun.

The news comes after astronomers in the Netherlands found asteroids currently considered safe, can still hit us many years from now.

Potentially hazardous asteroids are 500ft (150m) across or larger and approach Earth's orbit from within 4.6 million miles (7.5 million km).

Why is it a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid?

According to the International Business Times, quoting CNEOS, "potentially hazardous asteroids" are defined by the parameters that measure an asteroid's potential to make threateningly close approaches to Earth. Asteroid PZ39 fits in perfectly in the destructive range with measurement estimated between 440 metres to 990 metres.

2020BX12Feb20201 asteroid
Potentially Hazardous Asteroid That Buzzed Earth Was Travelling With Its Own Moon

Asteroid alert: Will the colossal space rock hit the planet or will it miss?

Express reports that the agency's asteroid trackers caught sight of an asteroid that is on its way towards the Earth's orbit.

It may not happen in our lifetime, he said, but 'the risk that Earth will get hit in a devastating event one day is very high'.

Some suggest they may form as a result of two asteroids forming together like binary stars, others could form by capturing smaller objects in a fly-by.

Currently, there is no known asteroid that is headed directly for Earth and that includes Asteroid PZ39. However, extremely lucky for us, it will be a distance of around 3.6 million miles away - about 15 times the distance of our moon.

It will pass Mars in June but won't be back past Earth until 2022 - by then it will be even further way - it's next close approach won't be until after 2100.


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