With the way 2020 is going, precisely nobody would be surprised if an asteroid were to hit earth right now, as the events of this year feel like they’ve been lifted from a disaster movie.
NASA confirmed today that the snappily titled Asteroid 2020 PT4, will pass by Earth and the Moon 12.6 kilometres per second today.
It’s what NASA call a “near Earth” approach, and the asteroid measures a whopping 36 metres long – that’s more than two eighteen-wheeler lorries.
Travelling at that speed, the asteroid could travel from the UK to New York more than eight times in one hour.
It will pass us by at a distance of 1,883,153 kilometres, which is 4.9 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.
NASA have been keen to reassure people though that even if it did hit Earth, it literally wouldn’t be the end of the world, as at 36 meters it would likely explode or break up into smaller parts upon entering the atmosphere.
The odds of a strike are given at a one in 300,000 chance every year, but this close approach highlights the need for further examining of the sky, and NASA is currently studying Asteroid Bennu after sending the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft there last year.
As if today’s near-miss wasn’t fun enough, NASA have also said one the size of two football fields will pass next week. Jolly good.
Time to watch Armageddon, perhaps?
Image via Alamy