According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, an asteroid wide from two professional football fields is set to fly safely to Earth on 14 September.
The space rock, known as the asteroid 2020 QL2, is over 120 meters (393 ft) in government agency notes. It is expected to fly past Earth at a speed of about 24,000 mph and get within 4.2 million miles.
By comparison, the Moon is 238,900 miles from Earth.
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The asteroid 2020 QL2 is considered “potentially dangerous” by NASA, given its size and proximity to Earth, although it has no chance of hitting the planet next week.
“Potentially hazardous” NEOs are defined as space objects that according to NASA fall within 0.05 astronomical units (4.6 million miles) and are more than 460 feet in diameter. According to the 2018 report put together by Planetary.org, there are over 18,000 NEOs.
In August, a basketball court-size asteroid flew “at least” 45,000 miles from Earth, according to NASA’s Aeroid Watch.
Separately in August, the size of a pickup truck flew within 2,000 miles of Earth, the closest record to date. It was remembered by NASA until it flew past the planet.
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NASA unveiled a 20-page plan in 2018 stating that the US should be better prepared for NEOs, such as asteroids and comets that fall within 30 million miles of the planet.
A recent survey showed that Americans prefer a space program that focuses on the possible asteroid effects of sending humans back to the Moon or Mars.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein said in April 2019 that the asteroid strike is not something to be taken lightly and is probably the biggest threat to Earth.
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