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NASA asteroid WARNING: Giant space rock on Earth Close Approach tomorrow | Science | News


The barrelling , dubbed Asteroid 2018 VA2, will approach the Earth shortly after 1.01am GMT (UTC) on Friday, November 10.

NASA expects the asteroid to come flying by at breakneck speeds and its size could make it a potentially dangerous object.

Astronomers at NASA’s California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) estimate the asteroid measures anywhere between 32ft and 74.5ft (10m and 23m).

Past asteroid and meteor impacts show space rocks as small as 65.5ft (20m) in diameter can cause widespread damage.

The 2013 Chelyabinsk incident in Russia is a prime example of the potential for chaos – around 1,500 people were injured when a 65.5ft-wide meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk.

Matija Cuk, an astronomer at the University of British Columbia in Canada, said: “A smaller object – around 20m diameter – struck Chelyabinsk Oblast in Russia and did cause over 1000 injuries.

“Most injuries occurred when the blast destroyed windows and struck onlookers inside buildings who were looking at the fireball.

“Fortunately, there are no reported deaths from the Chelyabinsk impact.”

Thankfully for Earth, Asteroid VA2 will not come close enough to the planet despite making a Close Earth Approach.

Close Earth Approaches are used to describe comets or asteroids on trajectories that bring them incredibly close to the planet but without the risk of striking.

As notes, on the cosmic scale of things, close approaches can still be “millions or even tens of millions of kilometres” away.

In the case of Asteroid VA2, the space rock will come within 0.00480 astronomical units (au) or 1.87 Lunar Distances (LD) of Earth.

One astronomical unit describes the amount of space between the Earth and the Sun – about 93 million miles (149 million km).

Asteroid VA2 will shorten this distance down tomorrow to just 446,187 miles (718,069 km).

The distance is roughly equivalent to 1.87-times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

According to the JPL, the asteroid is speeding through the solar system at speeds of 14,920mph or 6.67km per second.

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Once the asteroid makes its closest possible approach to Earth it will make another close approach to the Moon around 6.52am GMT (UTC).

The space rock will then barrel around the Sun and return to the Earth’s vicinity on October 21 in 2026, March 25 in 2027 and on October 10 in 2034.

The asteroid last visited the planet on October 24 in 2005, February 23 in 2003 and April 2 in 1993.

The news comes after , November 10.



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