It might seem like a giant asteroid hurtling past Earth could only spell disaster but NASA has assured the world that the giant 52768 (1998 OR2) asteroid will pass us safely by and has taken extra precaution.
Estimated to be between 1.9 kilometers wide, the asteroid will fly by within 6. 3 million kilometres of Earth, with a speed of 31 319 kilometres per hour.
First spotted in 1998, the asteroid appears to have prepared to make its way safely during these troubled pandemic times.
Wow. Asteroid 1998 OR2 tumbling through space seen by the Arecibo observatory.
They confirm the space rock is ~ 2 km in diameter and rotates once every 4.1 hours.
— ESA Operations (@esaoperations) April 24, 2020
“The small-scale topographic features such as hills and ridges on one end of asteroid 1998 OR2 are fascinating scientifically,” said Anne Virkki, head of Planetary Radar at the observatory. “But since we are all thinking about Covid-19, these features make it look like 1998 OR2 remembered to wear a mask.”
The flyby is expected to occur on Wednesday, April 29, at 5:56 am ET (11:56 am CAT), according to NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies.