El Mundo (Spain): why today should not be afraid of approaching the Earth asteroid 1998 OR2

Asteroid 52768 1998 OR2 closer to the Ground. Scientists will use this approximation to study the orbit of the asteroid and a more detailed understanding of its characteristics because it is a celestial body with a diameter of two or three kilometers hypothetically dangerous. Scientists of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico are monitoring the asteroid since April 13 and explain that because of the hills and ridges on one side it looks like a mask.

That asteroid is not only near-earth object, but one in two thousand of the heavenly bodies that are potentially dangerous. It has a diameter of over 150 meters, and the distance between its orbit and the Earth’s orbit is 25 times smaller than the distance from Earth to the moon.

The Haleakala Observatory, located in Hawaii, discovered the asteroid on 24 July 1998. It is the largest asteroid that is closest to the Earth in the coming years. However, this does not mean that he is a danger, on Wednesday, he was at a distance of 6.3 million kilometres from our planet. That is, it is too far to affect the Earth.

“We are studying this asteroid for more than 20 years and have been waiting for it coming April 29. This asteroid is one of the largest near-earth objects, so it is very important, but it will be far from the planet, the approximation will not be”, — explained the Director of the research center of near-earth objects NASA Floor khodas (Paul Chodas) during a videoconference space Agency.

“It is important for us as soon as possible to detect the asteroid in this class, because the more time we have to determine whether the asteroid out of trajectory to impact the Earth, the more we will have time to prepare and maybe do something to avoid a collision, for example, to conduct a mission to redirect an asteroid. If we track the asteroid in advance, it is time to choose the most suitable option,” — said the head of the program of Planetary defense, NASA Lindley Johnson (Lindley Johnson) during the aforementioned conference.

The asteroid will come closer in 2076

According to scientists, in 1998 OR2 formed in the main asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter, where, it is believed, can be more than three million asteroids, of which we know little less than one million.

The statement of the Institute of astrophysics of the Canary Islands States that for various reasons “usually due to interactions with the giant planets of the Solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, the asteroids which are usually consistently located in the zone can change orbit and fall into the inner solar system”. It was then that asteroids are approaching the Earth’s orbit and are considered hazardous.

According to the calculations, in 2076 asteroid 1998 OR2 approach within 3.5 — 4 times greater than the distance between the earth and the Moon. Even in this case, we cannot say that the asteroid will pose a danger, but it is possible that in the distant future, its orbit will change and the probability of collision will increase.

As the email said the head of the planetary radar at Arecibo Observatory Ann Vicki (Anne Virkki), is approaching the Earth will “change your orbit to make sure that the asteroid will not have a real impact on the Ground at the end of the century, to obtain information about its size and rotation period, to check if he had companions as more than 10% of asteroids. In addition, we can obtain information about its characteristics. For example, at ORW the crater”.

Currently, space agencies are exploring various methods to check the change of the orbits of asteroids, which in the future may pose to the Earth threat. “One of the biggest asteroids, which probably will have an impact in the next 200 years, is the asteroid (101955) Bennu, about 490 meters in diameter, which is currently automatic interplanetary station NASA’s OSIRIS-REx, designed to deliver soil samples to Earth,” explains Anne Virkki.

The damage that can cause asteroid collision with Earth will depend on its size and crash site: “the Asteroid, with a diameter of about two kilometers, for example, ORS can destroy a city or a country, depending on its size, and leave a crater with a width of 10 to 30 kilometers. The fall of an asteroid into the waters of the World ocean can lead to tsunamis. However, it is likely that the asteroid will not cause the destruction of humanity,” notes Ann Virkki.