4,200 foot-wide asteroid to make closest approach to Earth in 400 years

An asteroid more than 3,000 feet wide is about to pass Earth, and it will make its closest approach to our planet in the last 400 years.

4,200 foot-wide asteroid to make closest approach to Earth in 400 years
2 minutes & 14 seconds read time

An asteroid originally discovered in 2005 is about to get closer to Earth than it has in the past 400 years.

4,200 foot-wide asteroid to make closest approach to Earth in 400 years 84

The incoming space rock is expected to approach Earth on February 15, coming within 2.8 million miles of our planet at 7:46 pm EST and marking the closest moment this space rock has gotten to Earth's surface within the past 400 years. For those that can't visualize 2.8 million miles, the asteroid called 2005 YY128 will fly safely past Earth at a distance of approximately 12 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Experts have emphasized that there is zero chance that this asteroid will collide with our planet as 2005 YY128 is an asteroid that's had its orbit mapped out to a very precise level. Researchers have been studying the asteroid for the past 17 years, and from their observations, they have derived a precise orbit but not a concise prediction of its size. Unfortunately, researchers have a large discrepancy between their predictions, with EarthSky reporting that astronomers suspect 2005 YY128 has a diameter anywhere between 1,903 feet and 4,265 feet.

Since the asteroid's diameter is greater than 100 feet and it comes within 4.6 million miles of Earth, 2005 YY128 is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA), by NASA's definition explained on its website. Notably, a PHA is an asteroid large enough to make it to Earth's surface (100 feet diameter minimum) and orbits the Sun within 4.6 million miles of Earth. If 2005 YY128 did collide with the surface of Earth, it would cause devastating widespread destruction, even if it actually measures at its bare minimum diameter of 1,903 feet.

According to Sweden-based nonprofit Global Challenges Foundation, which wrote a post on threats of asteroids, if an asteroid with a diameter of approximately 500 feet collided with the surface of Earth, it would cause regional up to continental devastation, potentially killing hundreds of millions of people. If the largest near-Earth asteroids measuring 3,200 feet wide and above, hit Earth's surface, it would disrupt human civilization as a whole. Earth would experience drastic changes in climate and be at risk of extinction depending on the asteroid's size and the fallout of the event.

To prevent a disaster such as this, NASA formed the Planetary Defense Coordination Office, which tracks any near-Earth object. According to NASA and its partners, global efforts have resulted in the discovery of 95% of all asteroids larger than 0.6 miles and orbit within 30 million miles of Earth. None of these asteroids pose a threat to Earth for at least the next 100 years.

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NEWS SOURCES:space.com, earthsky.org

Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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