NASA: Endless asteroids keep zooming past the Earth at astonishing speeds, always posing the risk to threaten our existence. A couple of them, most popularly 2022 EB5, have even struck the Earth. Thankfully, none of these asteroids harmed the people and it was a relatively safe journey for our home planet. However, on April 1st, things can change. A humongous 650 feet wide asteroid will be approaching the Earth on that day. Although at the moment scientists believe that the asteroid will make a safe passage across our planet, things can change at a moment’s notice and various space agencies are monitoring the space rock for any sudden direction changes.
According to Space Reference, the asteroid named 2007 FF1 will zoom past Earth at a distance of 7,423,318 kilometers. The distance may seem too large to create any fear but do remember that in terms of astronomical distances, this is just a small number. And that is why astronomers are keeping a constant watch on this asteroid. The asteroid has been classified as a near earth object (NEO) and all NEOs carry a potential risk value as they do pose a threat of striking Earth.
Gigantic asteroid to approach the Earth
The asteroid 2007 FF1 is also known as an Apollo-class asteroid. The classification denotes that the asteroid’s orbit crosses its path with the Earth’s orbit. As such, it has also been categorized as a ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid due to the threat it poses considering its size and distance from Earth. Although past models had confirmed that it will make a close approach this year, an image of the asteroid taken by the Virtual Telescope project confirmed that it is due course to fly past the Earth. It is very crucial to ensure that the asteroid does not deviate from its path, because if it gets pulled by the Earth’s gravitational force, it can be catastrophic.
The asteroid was discovered first in March 2007 and this is the first time it has come this close to our planet. In fact, the asteroid will not come this close till 2159. Traveling at the speed of 12,832 km/s, the asteroid is one of the fastest moving asteroids in our vicinity. NASA has been very vigilant towards any and every near Earth object (NEO) that is in the observable universe. NASA has created its own department called Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) which aims to find ways to destroy large asteroids that may be on course to hit Earth in future.