New Delhi: US space agency NASA has confirmed that an asteroid the size of a stadium is heading towards Earth’s orbit. It is likely to whiz past next Saturday, July 24 at 15:35 Eastern time which is 1:05 am Wednesday as per Indian Standard Time, the space agency continues to monitor the object.
The asteroid, labelled 2008 GO20 that could be up to 220 metres wide which is double the size of London’s Big Ben. Even though it will be in close proximity to Earth’s orbit there is an extremely low chance that it would make contact with the surface.
The asteroid is cruising at over 8 kilometres per second, which is around 28,800 km/hour, a speed so high that it could annihilate anything in its way. It is to pass at a distance of 4.7 million kilometres from Earth which is roughly 11 times the distance between the Earth and Moon..
The orbit is classified under the term “Apollo” which is described as a near-Earth asteroid that crosses the Earth’s orbit similar to that of 1862’s Apollo.
Earlier, an asteroid the size of the Eiffel Tower 2021KT1 had came close to the planet. It was classified as “potentially hazardous” and was at a distance of 4.5 million km to Earth’s orbit. Any object closer than 4.6 million km, is considered a potentially hazardous object.
Asteroid 2008 GO20 has been listed on NASA’s near-Earth Objects (NEOs) Close Approaches website, where the space agency’s team of astronomers are currently tracking around 2,000 space rocks, comets and other objects which could fly close to our planet.