Small Asteroid to Safely Fly by Earth


A relatively small asteroid, about 4 to 8 meters in diameter, will fly safely past Earth just before 3pm today, Apr. 28 (Eastern U.S. time). NASA is tracking the object, but orbit calculations ruled out any chance that the near-Earth object could pose a threat to our planet. “Small asteroids like 2020 HS7 safely pass by Earth a few times per month,” said Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer and Program Executive for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. “At its closest approach 2020 HS7 will pass Earth by a distance of about 23,000 miles/36,400 km. It poses no threat to our planet, and even if it were on a collision path with Earth it is small enough that it would be disintegrated by our Earth’s atmosphere.” Near-Earth asteroid 2020 HS7, estimated to be 13 to 24 feet (4 to 8 meters) in size, will safely pass Earth at 2:51 p.m. EDT on Apr. 28 (6:51 UTC). What is a near-Earth object? Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are asteroids and comets that orbit the Sun, but their orbits bring them into Earth’s neighborhood – within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit. These objects are relatively unchanged remnant debris from the solar system’s formation some 4.6 billion years ago. Most of the rocky asteroids originally formed in the warmer inner solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, while comets, composed mostly of water ice with embedded dust particles, formed in the cold outer solar system.


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