The largest asteroid to pass by Earth this year will approach within some 1.25 million miles (two million kilometers) of our planet on March 21, NASA said on Thursday.
According to NASA, the interplanetary interloper won’t come closer than 1.25 million miles to Earth, but it will present a valuable scientific opportunity for astronomers.
“Called 2001 FO32, the near-Earth asteroid will make its closest approach at a distance of about 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) – or 5 1/4 times the distance from Earth to the Moon. There is no threat of a collision with our planet now or for centuries to come.” NASA said in a presser.
“We know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 around the Sun very accurately,” said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies.
“There is no chance the asteroid will get any closer to Earth than 1.25 million miles.” He added.
NASA has said that 2001 FO32 will pass by at about 77,000 miles per hour faster than the speed at which most asteroids encounter Earth.
“After its brief visit, 2001 FO32 will continue its lonely voyage, not coming this close to Earth again until 2052, when it will pass by at about seven lunar distances, or 1.75 million miles (2.8 million kilometers),” NASA said in the presser.
According to NASA, the Asteroid 2001 FO32 was discovered in March 2001 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program in Socorro, New Mexico, and had been estimated, based on optical measurements, to be roughly 3,000 feet (1 kilometer) wide.