Tuesday, 20 Apr 2021

NASA speaks out on huge asteroid bigger than Eiffel Tower set to pass Earth

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NASA has weighed in on the huge asteroid twice the size of the Eiffel Tower that is set to whizz by Earth later this month.

The hefty rock is due to pass the planet's orbit at a distance of around 1.25 million miles on March 21.

Now space chiefs have moved to reassure people that the asteroid, called 2001 FO32, moved to reassure people who are worried the fly-by will be a bit too close for comfort.

NASA tweeted: "On March 21, an asteroid named 2001 FO32 will safely pass by Earth, with its closest approach being a distance of about 1.23 million miles.

"There is no threat of a collision with our planet now of for centuries to come."

Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, which is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, added: "We know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 around the Sun very accurately since it was discovered 20 years ago and has been tracked ever since.

"There is no chance the asteroid will get any closer to Earth than 1.25 million miles."

Despite NASA's statement, the distance between Earth and the asteroid is close in astronomical terms, meaning 2001 FO32 has been designated "potentially hazardous".

It is estimated to be around 3,000 feet in diameter, making it around twice the size of the Eiffel Tower in Paris as well as the largest space rock to go past the planet this year.

At its closest approach it will be more than five times further than the Earth is from the Moon but astrologers using larger telescopes will be able to pick it up in the Southern Hemisphere and low latitude northern regions.

  • Asteroids
  • Nasa
  • Space

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