- Asteroid 2008 GO20, classified by NASA as Near Earth Object (NEO), will be passing by Earth later this month.
- The giant space rock is considered to be on “close approach” with Earth as it speeds by at 18,000 miles per hour.
- More space news here.
Have you heard about the reports that say if an asteroid were to be headed directly towards Earth there is literally nothing we can do to stop it? Because that’s the disturbing reality that we face as a planet.
For example, a giant asteroid, 2008 GO20, is headed towards Earth later this month at around 18,000 miles per hour, and NASA says it’s all good.
The Apollo group space rock, which has a diameter of between 92 meters and 206 meters (301 feet and 675 feet), is supposed to blow by Earth on July 24 (although one NASA report confusingly says it will happen on July 26).
Asteroid 2008 GO20 isn’t supposed to pass by the planet any closer than 0.028 au (10.9 lunar distances or 2,605,509 miles) so we should be okay. (The moon is approximately 238,606 miles from Earth.)
However, it is still classified by NASA as Near Earth Object (NEO) as it’s orbit is considered to be on “close approach” with Earth and could come as close as 0.018 au (1,673,204.5 miles).
How close? Take a look at a few time lapse diagrams comparing Earth’s orbit with the orbit of Asteroid 2008 GO20.
As you can see, in terms of outer space, Asteroid 2008 GO20 is actually going to be getting very close to our planet when it whizzes by.
According to NASA, “A Near-Earth Object (NEO) is generally defined as an asteroid or comet that approaches our planet less than 1.3 times the distance from Earth to the Sun (the Earth-Sun distance is about 93 million miles). Most NEOs pose no peril at all. It’s the small percentage of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids that draws extra scrutiny. These objects are defined as those that approach Earth at less than half the Earth-Sun distance.”
We’re supposed to be safe from Asteroid 2008 GO20 as well as Asteroids 2021 NE, 2019 AT6, 2019 NB7, and 2014 BP43, all which will be passing by the planet between now and July 21.