Potentially Hazardous Asteroid Expected to Miss Earth

According to and the Smithsonian Magazine, an asteroid was found to be heading towards the earth. This asteroid, called (52768) 1998 OR2, has an estimated diameter of 1.1 to 2.5 miles or 1.8 to 4.1 kilometers. Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 is expected to be closest to the Earth on April 29 at a distance of about 3.9 million miles or 6.3 million kilometers away. This distance, although too far to hit the earth, is why Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 is deemed “potentially hazardous.” Nasa claims an object as potentially dangerous if it is less than 4.6 million miles, 7.5 million km, or 0.05 astronomical units away from the earth. This is the average distance between Earth and the sun. ~

Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 is expected to get further away after its close encounter with Earth on April 29. It is likely to pass the earth again in 2031, 2048, and 2062. Each of these passes will be further than that of the encounter this year. This asteroid is thought to get close to Jupiter’s orbit during this period of time and is more likely to hit Mars at some point than to hit Earth. Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 will be closest to the earth in 2079 when it will be only 1.1 miles or 1.8 kilometers away. ~

Up to now, Nasa has identified more than 20,000 Near-Earth Objects, also known as NEOs. NEOs are asteroids or comets that come within 30 million miles or 48 million kilometers of the earth in their orbit. But only a few of these NEOs can potentially impact Earth. Nasa keeps these NEOs on a list and tracks them with their automated Sentry System. In addition to this Sentry System that tracks known NEOs, Nasa also has a project called NEOWISE which is a camera sent to space to estimate objects’ size, mass, composition and more. These stats help NASA’s engineers determine what needs to take place in order to protect Earth from incoming objects. ~

Leave a Reply