A small near-Earth asteroid, roughly the size of a school bus, is set to zoom past Earth today at a distance of about 22,000 kilometres above our planet’s surface, NASA said. Also Read - 'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid Will Zoom Past Earth on September 1, Is It Dangerous? Know Here
This asterpod named 2020 SW was discovered last Friday by the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The asteroid will make its close approach below the ring of geostationary satellites orbiting about 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometres) away from Earth.
Based on its brightness, scientists estimate that asteroid 2020 SW is roughly 15 to 30 feet (5 to 10 meters) wide or about the size of a small school bus, which poses no harm to us.
Although it’s not on an impact trajectory with Earth, if it were, the space rock would almost certainly break up high in the atmosphere, becoming a bright meteor known as a fireball, NASA scientists said.
Once it’s gone, the asteroid won’t be back to Earth’s neighbourhood until 2041.
“There are a large number of tiny asteroids like this one, and several of them approach our planet as close as this several times every year. In fact, asteroids of this size impact our atmosphere at an average rate of about once every year or two” said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.