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Saturday February 24, 2024

Nasa: Football pitch-sized asteroid approaches Earth!

Asteroid 2008 OS7 has been added on Nasa's watch list as it nears Earth

By Web Desk
February 01, 2024
The asteroid is scheduled to make its closest approach at 2:41pm GMT on Friday. — Nasa
The asteroid is scheduled to make its closest approach at 2:41pm GMT on Friday. — Nasa

Asteroid 2008 OS7, a comet the size of a football pitch, is rated as "potentially hazardous" and is predicted to approach Earth at a speed of around 11 miles per second, approaching from a distance of 1.7 million miles, or roughly seven times that of the Moon.

Even while it might seem far away, it is near enough in space for Nasa to include it on its "asteroid watch," and scientists will be closely monitoring its approach, according to the Telegraph.

The closest approach of the asteroid, which passes Earth every 962 days, is expected to occur on Friday at 2:41pm GMT.

Because it approaches Earth fairly closely and has the potential to do substantial damage in the case of an impact, it is classified as potentially hazardous.

An asteroid with a diametre of 1,500 feet is predicted to smash a metropolis, creating a crater 11 miles wide and instantaneously wiping out nearly 2 million people. The explosion would generate a fireball the size of 141 gigatons of TNT, and the impact would kill a further 11 million people.

Dr Minjae Kim, a research fellow in the University of Warwick’s physics department, said: “We don’t need to worry about it too much as this asteroid will not enter Earth’s atmosphere, while it will still approach close to the Earth."

“There are millions of asteroids in our solar system, of which around 2,350 asteroids have been classified as potentially hazardous. One of the most intriguing aspects of the 2008 OS7 is its estimated diameter based on its luminosity and reflective properties, which ranges from 725ft to 1,622ft. This places it in the category of a small to moderately sized asteroid, roughly equivalent to the size of a football field,” said Kim.

At Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Centre for Near Earth Object Studies is responsible for monitoring and assessing asteroid risk.

The majority of asteroids and comets have orbits that do not bring them extremely close to Earth; they are only considered dangerous if they are larger than 460 feet and pass within 4.6 million miles of the planet.

On April 14, 2029, 99942 Apophis will make its next close encounter with Earth. This potentially dangerous asteroid might cause major harm.

In order to investigate the physical alterations that would arise from the asteroid's near collision with Earth, Nasa's Osiris-Apex mission is presently en route to the asteroid.