NASA Is Tracking A ‘Potentially Hazardous Asteroid’ As Big As A Skyscraper Flying By Earth

by 4 months ago
NASA Tracking A Potentially Hazardous Asteroid As Big As A Skyscraper

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As if we all didn’t have enough stress in our lives, now we have to worry about an Aten-Class Near Earth Asteroid, 163348 (2002 NN4), classified as Potentially Hazardous by NASA, will be flying by Earth in alarming proximity this weekend.

For those unfamiliar, SpaceReference.org describes an Aten-Class Asteroid (ATE) as an object “whose orbit could bring it in close proximity to Earth.”

NASA also refers to it as a Near-Earth Object (NEO) and in the case of Asteroid 163348 (2002 NN4) it’s also referred to by the space agency as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) which is defined “based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth.”

Asteroid 2002 NN4, which is estimated to be between 833 and 1,863 feet wide in diameter (by comparison, the Empire State Building is around 1,450 feet tall), will be coming closest to Earth as it passes by (hopefully) at more than 20,000 mph (or around 7 miles per second) at around 11:20 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

Below are NASA diagrams showing the anticpated orbit of Asteroid 2002 NN4 as it crosses paths with Earth’s orbit.

NASA Tracking A Potentially Hazardous Asteroid As Big As A Skyscraper

JPL-NASA


NASA Tracking A Potentially Hazardous Asteroid As Big As A Skyscraper

JPL-NASA


NASA Tracking A Potentially Hazardous Asteroid As Big As A Skyscraper

JPL-NASA


When it does pass by it will only be just 0.034 astronomical units (AU) away from Earth. For comparison purposes, Mars is 0.52 AU from Earth, while our moon is 0.0026 AU from our planet.

In addition to that happening, Asteroids 2020 KO1 and 2020 KQ1 will also be making a pass by our planet on Saturday.

Luckily for us, according to Ian J. O’Neill of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “2002 NN4 is a very well-known asteroid with a known orbit that will pass Earth at a (very) safe distance.”

Then again, what else is he going to say? The asteroid is coming straight for us and there’s nothing we can do to stop it? Oh… right.

Let’s just hope the Yarkovsky effect doesn’t kick in this weekend.

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Before settling down at BroBible, Douglas Charles, a graduate of the University of Iowa (Go Hawks), owned and operated a wide assortment of websites. He is also one of the few White Sox fans out there and thinks Michael Jordan is, hands down, the GOAT.

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