NASA released a few days ago a report of a massive asteroid that was allegedly expected to make its way towards Earth. The announcement was made on February 2nd, and the space rock was supposed to fly by our planet at a close yet perfectly safe distance.
The asteroid is believed to be 1,443-feet-wide, and it is traveling at outstanding speeds of just under 56,550 mph. It reached Earth’s vicinity on February 3rd, flying about 2.6 million miles from the planet’s surface, which is a bit more than 11 times the distance to the Moon.
One of the numerous impressive aspects of the cosmic object is that it was only recently identified, NASA reported. According to the announcement made by the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the space rock was only discovered on January 27th. The asteroid was named 2020 BX12 and has been labeled as a Near-Earth Object (NEO).
Asteroid 2020 BX12 Was Labeled as Potentially Hazardous
As NASA details, NEOs are cosmic bodies such as comets and asteroids that rotate between around 91 million and 121 million miles from the Sun. This means that in their trajectory orbit around the Sun, NEOs can end up about 30 million miles away from Earth’s orbit.
When it comes to NEOs, asteroid 2020 BX12 is one of the hardest to travel in Earth’s proximity in recent weeks. Data collected by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), estimates the space rock is between 656 feet and 1,443 feet in diameter.
Considering its massive scale, asteroid 2020 BX12 has been categorized as potentially hazardous. The cosmic object was officially labeled as a ‘potentially hazardous asteroid’ (PHA), a mark that is attributed to celestial bodies that are at least 460-feet-wide and travel within 4.66 miles of our planet’s orbit.
The gigantic asteroid has passed by Earth at 1.55 p.m. EST on January 3rd, with NASA assuring the public that the space rock is no cause for worry.