If you’re afraid of the coronavirus, you should bear in mind that there are infinitely bigger threats in the Universe. A 4-kilometers wide asteroid named 52768 (1998 OR2) is approaching our planet while you read this article, and it has the potential to destroy all life forms. But will it give us a deadly ‘kiss’, or will it just approach enough to not get caught by the Earth’s gravity?
60 million years ago, a huge asteroid hit Earth in today’s Yucatán Peninsula from Mexico and caused the extinction of all the dinosaurs. Experts warn that a similar scenario will repeat itself again someday.
No need to worry
NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) tells us that there’s no need to worry about the 52768 (1998 OR2) asteroid. Thankfully, it will approach until 4 million miles from the Earth’s center on April 29 at 4:56 am EST. This means that the huge asteroid will successfully miss us.
Although we are safe for now, such kind of discoveries is reminding us how vulnerable we are in the vastness of the Cosmos. The newfound asteroid is a true cosmic beast: it’s hurtling at almost 20,000 miles per hour, and it has a diameter of over forty football fields: 4.1 kilometers. Furthermore, it was classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid.
For those who don’t know what a potentially hazardous asteroid is, NASA has something to clarify:
Potentially hazardous asteroids are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth,
Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance of 0.05 [astronomical units] or less and an absolute magnitude of 22.0 or less are considered [potentially hazardous asteroids],
Therefore, we should worry more about the coronavirus and even flu. And hopefully, when a killer asteroid is really getting ready to hit Earth, humanity will possess the necessary tools to get rid of it.