As a battered and besieged planet nears the finish line for 2020, the universe appears to be making a dark joke about humanity by sending out five asteroids in two days, with a 2,700-foot space rock following just days later.
The colossus dubbed 2000 WO107, estimated at 0.51 km in diameter, or about the height of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, will visit Earth (cosmically speaking) at 10.09 a.m. GMT (5.09 a.m. ET) at Sunday, November 29.
The visitor won’t linger for long, as despite its enormous size, it travels a whopping 25.07 km per second – or roughly the equivalent of 90,000 km / h. For reference, the average bullet travels at about 4,500 mph. It won’t be visible to most Earthlings either, as it’s set for what NASA considers a “near flyby” at a meager 0.02876 astronomical units (AU) from Earth – or 2,673,409 miles.
NASA defines a Near Earth Object (NEO) as an asteroid or comet that comes within 1.3 AU of Earth.
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In the meantime, there will be plenty of activity in our cosmic backyard, with five asteroids in the area on Monday and Tuesday alone.
On Monday, three space rocks, 2020 WN (9.5 m in diameter), 2020 VW2 (14 m) and 2020 WC (10 m) shoot past the Earth at 1.6 million kilometers, seven million kilometers and 1.6 million kilometers respectively.
The average distance between the Earth and the Moon is about 385,000 km, but NASA considers all objects within a range of 7.5 million kilometers (or 19.5 times the distance to the moon) as worthy of observation, in case they succumb to a sudden course correction. .
On Tuesday, the 47-meter WJ16 2017 and 31-meter 2020 TJ8 will pass the planet at two million kilometers and 6.4 million kilometers, before the next round of space rocks buzzes our planetary defenses.
NASA and other space agencies around the world are keeping an eye on things 24/7, but there’s a lot of air to cover, so sometimes humanity misses these close flybys, as was the case with a new record with a close flyby set this month. took place.
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