An asteroid more than a kilometer in diameter will pass very close to Earth on March 21. Despite being classified as “potentially dangerous” by NASA, it is unlikely to reach the planet.
According to the information, the space rock named 231937 (2001 FO32) will be about 2 million kilometers from Earth. A distance five times farther than the Moon.
This is the second “potentially dangerous asteroid” to approach Earth this year. Its width is comparable to the size of the Rio-Niterói Bridge in Rio de Janeiro, in addition to being twice as tall as the Burj Khalifa, the largest building in the world in Dubai.
SpaceReference.org described that, based on the brightness and the way the light reflects on it, the rock can be up to 1,714 kilometers in diameter. Despite being 97% larger than rocky bodies, it is still small compared to “large asteroids”.
NASA classifies the specimen as “potentially dangerous” because it may reach the planet at some point in the future. However, the space agency uses this category for any space rock that approaches about 7.5 million kilometers from Earth.
Origin of 231937 (2001 FO32)
Asteroid 231937 (2001 FO32) was discovered by telescopes at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory on March 23, 2001. Funded by the US Air Force and NASA, the program has since followed the activities of the rocky body.
With that, the researchers were able to predict four more approaches to the same space rock in the coming decades. Thus, the specimen should only “scrape” again on Earth on March 22, 2052.
Furthermore, the tendency is for the rock to become more distant from the planet with each approach. According to NASA, the possibility of an asteroid hitting Earth is 0.2% by 2185.