Massive, potentially dangerous asteroid flies close to Earth in a month — RT EN

5 Feb 2022 10:48 pm

In early March, NASA predicts that an asteroid larger than the world’s tallest skyscraper will fly past Earth. According to the space agency, it is a potentially dangerous space rock, but remains far away by Earth standards.

Asteroid 138971 (2001 CB21), whose orbit intersects Earth’s orbit, is just over a kilometer across. NASA classified CB21 as a “potentially dangerous asteroid” in 2001 because it is expected to come very close to Earth.

2001 CB21 orbits the Sun every 384 days. It is just one of more than 25 near-Earth objects that will pass Earth between February 3rd and March 4th. This is according to observational data from the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

However, 2001 CB21 is by far the largest of the objects passing by Earth these weeks. With a diameter of about 560 to a good 1,250 kilometers, it is larger than about 97 percent of the asteroids, albeit small compared to large asteroids. According to the specialist website Space Reference, it is about the same size as the Golden Gate Bridge and longer than the tallest skyscraper built to date.

While classified as “potentially hazardous” by the space agency due to its proximity to our planet, 2001 CB21’s orbit is at its closest point 0.02 AU from Earth’s orbit, leaving this asteroid a long distance from Earth at all times . By terrestrial standards, it remains some distance away at around 4.9 million kilometers and well outside the Moon’s average orbit of 385,000 kilometers.

All asteroids with a diameter of at least 150 meters that pass within 7.5 kilometers of Earth are considered potentially dangerous, according to the JPL. If it were to hit Earth, an asteroid just 100 meters in diameter would produce an explosive force ten times that of the volcanic eruption in Tonga on January 14, 2022, which triggered tsunami waves as far away as New Zealand, Japan and the USA.

For 2001 CB21, 21 approaches are predicted over the coming decades. The expected closest approach to Earth will bring it to about 3.6 million kilometers from Earth – but not until March 6, 2148.

The last approach of another asteroid of comparable size was that of asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) on January 18, a space rock 1,000 meters in diameter that came close to two million kilometers to the blue planet. The majority of asteroids are made up of different types of rock, some also contain clays or metals such as nickel and iron. Remnants of the formation of our solar system, they offer scientists the opportunity to draw conclusions about the history of the planets and the sun.

More on the subject – Horror scenario: These four asteroids could fall to earth

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