In recent days, some websites have announced that a large asteroid will be approaching Earth this Saturday (24). But keep calm! Although it is actually close in astronomical terms, it is far from our planet. NASA has already ruled out the possibility of any harm.
Known as 2008 GO20, the space rock up to 220 meters has been known to astronomers for 13 years, as its name implies. For quick comparison, the size of the asteroid is approximately equal to the height of the 6 structures of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro (38 meters) and 2.3 Statues of Liberty (93 meters).
Due to its orbit and characteristics, the asteroid has been added to NASA’s list of near-Earth objects. However, in a few months’ study, it was considered harmless to mankind.
At 6:30 pm on Saturday, 2008 GO20 approached its closest approach at about 0.03 astronomical units (AU, which represents the distance between the Earth and the Sun) – more than 4 million km or ten times the distance to the Moon.
The approximation is considered “close” because it takes into account the size of the universe, but is still distant and secure.
The asteroid travels at a speed of 8.2 km (29,500 km). The impact of a rock of this size, at that speed, will not cause global catastrophe or destruction. However, it will leave thousands of square kilometers of destructive path.
Asteroids, comets and other space rocks move close to Earth at all times, but only a few pose a real risk of collision in the future. There are about 2,000 objects that are constantly monitored by the American Space Agency, and new discoveries and studies are made each month.
What is an asteroid?
Giant rocks based on asteroids. Remnants of the formation process of rocky planets, which may reach hundreds of kilometers, and may have their own natural satellites.
Therefore, it is the celestial body with the greatest potential for destruction. Earth has undergone many asteroid impacts over billions of years, one of which may be the extinction of dinosaurs, which are still leaving the craters today.
There are about 800,000 asteroids in our solar system – most of which form a belt located between Mars and Jupiter, which are very close to Earth. But only a dozen of them are classified as assets, with the risk of attacking us in the future, Determining That’s it Apophis.
Like comets, asteroids have well-defined orbits. However, this can change due to gravitational contact with other bodies. Therefore, it is important to monitor them.
Many astronomers, professionals and amateurs around the world are dedicated to predicting approaches and finding ways to prevent a catastrophic event.