According to NASA, at the end of this week, on Saturday, August 10, at a speed of 16,772 kilometers per hour, a very large asteroid will approach our planet. Scientists say the facility, named 2006 QQ23, is the size of a skyscraper. Its diameter is almost 600 meters. The media and the public are already starting to worry. But scientists say that there is no threat. An asteroid must fly past Earth at a safe distance. In any case, current calculations show this.
What are the sizes of an asteroid?
The exact dimensions of the facility are 569 meters. It was discovered in 2006. For comparison, the height of the American skyscraper Empire State Building is 443 meters (with a spire).
Comparative dimensions of the asteroid and Empire State Building skyscraper (left)
According to experts Lindley Johnson and Kelly Fast from the Office for the Coordination of Planetary Defense of NASA, the distance between our planet and the asteroid at the nearest point should be about 7.5 million kilometers. Therefore, nothing threatens the inhabitants of the planet. For comparison, the moon is 384,000 kilometers from us, which is about 20 times closer.
Scientists say that they track such so-called "near-Earth objects", among which are not only asteroids, but also comets, as well as their fragments that revolve around the Sun. By space standards, 8 million kilometers is really a very small distance to the Earth. Therefore, scientists call such objects near-Earth.
What happens if an asteroid hits the Earth?
According to experts from NASA, every year at least 6 asteroids the size of 2006 QQ23 fly past our planet. If an object about 600 meters in size falls to Earth, the consequences will be disastrous. Not globally, of course. But in the regional for sure. If such a stone falls into the water, it can cause giant tsunamis. The consequences for cities located in coastal zones within the fall radius of an object will be unimaginable.
See also: What is the probability that an asteroid will fall on Earth?
Currently, NASA scientists are aware of the existence in our solar system of at least 900 near-Earth asteroids larger than one kilometer. But the smaller cosmic cobblestones around our planet are much larger. The bill goes to millions. And this creates very big problems. Compact asteroids are much more difficult to detect.
For example, recently, the European Space Agency reported that just a week earlier an asteroid the size of a football field flew past Earth.
An asteroid flying past Earth turned out to be the size of a football field
The distance between our planet and a small celestial body with a diameter of 100 meters was only 65 thousand kilometers or 1/5 of the distance to the moon. Interestingly, they found it only at the moment when it was already as close as possible to the Earth and began to move away from it. Scientists from the European Space Agency say that we are sorely lacking ground-based telescopes to effectively observe near-Earth objects of such small sizes.
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