As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, another asteroid, this one named 2020 PY2 by NASA, is expected to blast by Earth at a distance closer than the moon at a speed of more than 38,000 mph.
Classified as a “Potentially Hazardous” Near-Earth Object (NEO), Apollo Asteroid 2020 PY2 is estimated to be between 49 and 108 feet across, will be blasting by Earth around 5:31 p.m. ET on Thursday, August 20.
2020 PY2 is projected to pass by Earth at a distance of around 0.00225 astronomical units or 209,233 miles.
While that may not sound close, when taking into consideration the fact that the moon is 238,900 miles away from Earth, it’s not that far.
Also, NASA refers to space rocks like Asteroid 2020 PY2 as Near-Earth Objects any time they pass by the planet at a distance less than 4,647,790.4 miles.
Near Earth Objects are tracked by NASA’s Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS) which predicts NEO close approaches to Earth and assesses NEO impact probabilities over the next century.
Not that there is currently much NASA or the CNEOS can do if one of these asteroids or comets decides to veer off path into a collision course with Earth due to something called the Yarkovsky effect. We are, at the moment, completely unprepared for such an occurence.
So let’s just cross our fingers.
Below are the orbital progressions of both Earth and Astroid 2020 PY2 as they come together.
Interestingly, the next day at around 4:03 a.m. ET on Friday, August 21, Asteroid 2020 PY2 will come even closer to our moon than it did to Earth.
Asteroid 2020 PY2 is also classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) based on the rock’s potential to make a threatening close approach to the Earth.
Unfortunately, there is no shortage of these Potentially Hazardous Asteroids. According to NASA, there are an estimated 3,200 to 6,200 of these floating around in space, all with the potential to cause damage on a regional or global scale.
Another problem is that only around 30 percent of these PHAs have actually been dicsovered and located by NASA.
On the plus side, NASA believes there is only a one in 300,000 chance per year of an asteroid capable of causing regional damage actually striking Earth such as what happened in Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013 when a meteor disintegrated, shattering windows in the area and causing injuries to more than 1,000 people.
Previous asteroid news…
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• Three major asteroids deemed ‘near Earth objects’ will be zooming by Earth over the next few days
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• Space agency expert predicts ‘serious impact’ from an apocalyptic asteroid: we ‘need to do something about it’
• Apocalyptic will hit in the next decade and space agencies are covering it up, says biblical scholar
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• Space agencies are going to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid at over 14,000 mph to see what happens
• Experts warn ‘100 percent’ chance of asteroid colliding with Earth and action needed to prevent mass extinction