Sized asteroid to fly past Earth safely

Sized asteroid to fly past Earth safely

The Superbowl Sunday is falling on February 4 as on this day the New England Patriots are going play against the Philadelphia Eagles. That's roughly 10 times the distance between Earth and moon. While the giant space rock has officially been listed as a "potentially hazardous asteroid" because of its size and relative closeness to the Earth, scientists say 2002 AJ129 will still be 2.6 million miles away from the planet when it flies by. But before that, an exciting cosmic event will occur wherein an asteroid named 2002 AJ129 will hurtle past Earth in a close encounter. At closest approach, it will be at a distance of 2.6 million miles / 4.2 million km - over 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. Any that come within 4,650,000 miles of Earth and measure more than 500 feet in diameter become categorized as "Potentially Hazardous Asteroids".

Paul Chodas is manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

The asteroid's velocity at the time of closest approach, 34 kilometres per second, is higher than the majority of near-Earth objects during an Earth flyby, NASA said. He denied any chance of the giant asteroid hitting our planet.

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At the time of closest approach at 1:30 p.m. on February 4, experts say asteroid "2002 AJ129" will be no closer than 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon, or about 2.6 million miles.

NASA's Asteroid Watch Twitter account has been reassuring people that they have nothing to fear from 2002 AJ129. NASA actually used that close encounter to test how well its planetary defense system would work if an asteroid were really on a collision course for Earth.


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