Two space rocks to safely whiz past Earth on 19 July, as per NASA's asteroid threat monitor

The space agency asserted that none of the asteroids being monitored are currently thought to pose a threat to Earth.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has predicted that two space rocks will zip past our planet on Sunday.

The space agency has named the first rock 2016 DY30 and the second one 2020 ME3, IBTimes reported.

The first asteroid, 2016 DY30, is about 15 feet wide and currently moving in the general direction of Earth at a speed of over 54,000 kilometres per hour. The second asteroid, 2020 ME3, is roughly 131 feet wide, and moving at an average speed of over 16,000 kilometres per hour. 2020 ME3 will fly past Earth at a much farther distance as compared to 2016 DY30.

CNEOS has predicted that 2016 DY30 will make its closest approach to Earth on Sunday, 19 July at 10.02 am IST, when it will be about 0.02306 astronomical units (roughly equivalent to 3.4 million km) away from Earth.

Asteroid 2020 ME3, on the other hand, will reach its closest distance to Earth at 2.51 am IST, the following morning (Monday), when it is expected to be 0.03791 astronomical units (5.6 million km) from Earth’s centre as it moves past our planet.

asteroid_belt

Near-Earth Objects occasionally approach close to the Earth as they orbit the Sun on their fixed paths. CNEOS determines the times and distances of these objects as and when their approach to the Earth is close, recording it in a comprehensive, regularly updated database.

NASA defines NEOs as comets and asteroids nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits which allows them to enter Earth’s neighbourhood in the solar system.

These objects are composed mostly of water ice with embedded dust particles. They are also of scientific interest since comets and asteroids are relatively unchanged remnants from the early solar system, formed over 4.6 billion years ago. NEOs, therefore, also offer scientists clues about processes and chemicals involved in the formations of planets in our solar system, Earth among them.

The biggest known asteroid that orbits the sun is a whopping 21 miles (34 km) long, CNN quoted Lindley Johnson of NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office as saying.

The space agency asserted that none of the asteroids in the CNEOS database are currently thought to pose a threat to Earth.


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