Larger than the pyramids of Egypt and with a speed of more than 30 thousand km / h. These are the characteristics of the 2016 NF23 asteroid, which is expected to pass near Earth on Wednesday (29), according to information from NASA. The US space agency classified the body as a "potentially dangerous asteroid" and put it on its watchlist.
The organization classifies Near-Earth Objects (NEO & # 39; s) as "potentially dangerous" when they are less than 7.4 million km away from the planet.
It is estimated that the asteroid is between 70 and 150 meters in diameter, which means that it can be larger than the immense structures that the Egyptians built about 4,500 years ago.
NASA has reported that the asteroid will advance to 0.03377 astronomical units of the earth, corresponding to 4.8 million km, and travels at a rate of 32,000 m / h. To give a comparison basis, the Sun is about 149 million km away from the earth, hence the so-called 2016 NF23 whose passage is considered near our planet. Regarding speed, the supersonic plane Concorde makes 2.213 km / h (or 2.04 times the speed of the sound).
Despite the size and high speed, the asteroid should not be a cause for concern, experts say. NASA's planetary defense official Lindley Johnson said in an interview with Space.com that "there is absolutely no concern about the passage of 2016 NF23."
"This object is only considered potentially dangerous because of its orbit, which will be 5 million miles (8 million km) from Earth, but there is nothing dangerous for the planet," Johnson said. .
NASA made an official statement last year that clarifies that there is virtually no chance that a spaceship will hit the earth in the next century. "It is not expected that an asteroid will affect the Earth at this time for the next hundred years," the statement said.
What is the difference between asteroid, comet and meteor?
Throughout the year the earth is hit by different kinds of cosmic materials, but most are not resistant to atmospheric pressure and fall apart before they fall to the ground. There are, however, differences between the bodies that reach the planet. The asteroid is a relatively small and inactive rocky object that revolves around the sun. The meteoroid is a collection of asteroids or comets.
When a meteoroid or an asteroid resists the passage through the earth's atmosphere and reaches the bottom of our planet, it is classified as a meteorite. The meteor is a phenomenon that occurs along the atmosphere of the earth and leaves a trace of light in the air. The comet is a relatively small, but often active ice object with a gas and dust tail.
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