A quite interesting asteroid that is thought to be 1.9 km (that’s 1.2 miles) wide will fly past Earth next week, but it will not hit us.
And, what’s funnier in this entire thing is that it appears that it is wearing a face mask, kind of defending itself from the pandemic.
On the 29th of April, it will pass at 19,461 miles per hour, at 3,908,791 miles of Earth. But don’t worry, that’s 16 times farther than the distance between the moon and our planet.
However, if it were to hit us, it would have had a disastrous impact, with global effects.
Anne Virkki, from Arecibo Observatory, stated: “The small-scale topographic features such as hills and ridges on one end of asteroid 1998 OR2 are fascinating scientifically. But since we are all thinking about Covid-19, these features make it look like 1998 OR2 remembered to wear a mask.”
It is expected to fly past Earth on Wednesday, the 29th of April, at 5:56 a.m. ET.
A team of experts from the Arecibo Observatory monitored this near-Earth asteroid, as well. The observatory is part of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program, and they are known to analyze asteroids to this day since the mid-’90s.
Even if the world is in lockdown, scientists are still working on behalf of planetary defense. At the facility, they have a limited number of workers, scientists, and radar operators, and they are all wearing masks.
At first, the asteroid was classified as being a potentially hazardous object, given the fact that it is bigger than 500 feet and comes within 5 million miles of Earth’s orbit. Astronomers are always observing asteroids in order to see If their path will represent a threat to the Earth in the future.