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Asteroids: 37-meter rock to pass by Earth this week
Asteroids often pass by Earth throughout their journey through space. NASA has revealed that it is anticipating the arrival of one particular asteroid this week that measures 37 meters in diameter.
Express reports the asteroid known as 2020 PT4 will be approaching Earth and the Moon this week, making its arrival on September 8. NASA has described the asteroid as on a near-approach trajectory. 2020 PT4 is traveling through space at the moment at a rate of 12.6 kilometers per second or 45,360 kilometers per hour. 2020 PT4 also measures around 37 meters in diameter, equivalent to two 18-wheeler trucks in length.
Described as a Near-Earth Object or NEO, NASA has assured us that 2020 PT4 does not pose a threat as it will only get as close as 1,883,153 kilometers away. Should this asteroid collide with Earth, then it would most likely be similar to the 2013 Chelyabinsk incident. Nevertheless, the closest 2020 PT4 will be from us is still extremely far in human terms, but it is close enough for astronomers to notice in the skies.
However, knowing that asteroids can get close to Earth means space agencies need to be on the lookout for potentially hazardous rocks. Fortunately, space agencies are studying possible methods of defending Earth against these potentially hazardous asteroids orbiting space, such as deflecting asteroids with the use of another rock.
Aside from 2020 PT4, NASA was previously monitoring the activity exhibited by another asteroid that went towards Earth over the weekend. The agency was keeping tabs on a space rock referred to as 2020 RC that measures around 120 to 270 meters in diameter and around 394 to 886 feet in height. This would be equivalent to twice the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
This asteroid was classified by NASA as a Near-Earth Object or NEO but thankfully did not pose a threat to Earth when it passed by. During 2020 RC’s approach to Earth, it got as close as 0.03286 astronomical units. This is equivalent to 4,915,786.31 kilometers away from Earth, making it extremely far for us humans but close enough to be seen.