The asteroid 2020 SW, the size of a bus, is going to fly 13.000 miles above Earth in the next few hours, Nasa said. This means that it will fly much closer than the artificial ones satellites orbiting him planet us.
The object was discovered September 18 by a NASA-funded project in Arizona, and further observations were able to trace its course and rule out any possibility of a collision with Earth.
These observations indicated that he would make his nearest crossing on Thursday at noon, at England. It will then fly to continue its journey around the solar system. It will not return anywhere near Earth until 2041, when it will be even further away.
The asteroid is believed to be about five to ten meters wide, the size of a "small school bus," the space agency said. service. Size is estimated by the brightness of the object, NASA said.
It is not expected to hit the Earth, scientists said. If there was this possibility, it would not have time to reach the surface, as when it passes through the atmosphere it will be engulfed in flames and explode. In fact, despite repeated warnings that the world is threatened by asteroids, their visits are quite frequent and never pose a great danger to humans on Earth.
"There are a large number of tiny asteroids like this, and many of them approach our planet as close as it does, many times a year." he said Paul Chodas, director of the Near-Earth Object Studies Center (CNEOS) at Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA, at Southern California.
"In fact, asteroids of this size affect our atmosphere at an average rate of about once a year or two."
Nasa is committed to finding it 90% of asteroids flying close to Earth, 140 meters or larger. Such asteroids are much more dangerous than those resembling the 2020 SW, as their larger size means that they are able to pass through the atmosphere and possibly cause problems when they collide with Earth.
However, the larger size makes them easier to locate. There are many more small sizes, similar to the 2020 SW, but smaller size and lower brightness affect visibility.
"NASA's asteroid detection capabilities are constantly improving, and we now expect to find asteroids of this size just days before they come close to our planet."