Huge Asteroid, Slightly Smaller Than Burj Khalifa, Set to Pass by Earth Next Month
This seem to be an asteroid season. After Asteroid 2006 QQ23 whizzed past Earth earlier this month without incident, a new asteroid is set to fly past our planet in September. Dubbed as Asteroid 2000 QW7, it will come as close as 5.3 million kilometres to Earth when it passes by the planet. The space rock is estimated to measure 650 metres in diameter, making it a little smaller than the Burj Khalifa (829 metres), the tallest building on Earth, and slightly taller than Shanghai Tower (632 metres).
According to a report by Fox News, the NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) states that Asteroid 2000 QW7 will zip past Earth on September 14. It will be travelling at a speed of 14,361mph (23,112kmph). As the asteroid is coming within 0.05 astronomical units of our planet, it is called a Near Earth Object (NEO).
According to data from NASA JPL, the last time Asteroid 2000 QW7 was close to Earth was September 1, 2000 and the next time it was fly past the planet will be October 19, 2038.
Another asteroid that has been in focus over the last few weeks is 99942 Apophis, named after the Egyptian god of chaos and darkness, and it was initially believed to be crashing into Earth in 2029, however, further observations have removed that possibility. Its diameter is estimated to be approximately 370 metres. It was last observed in 2015 and that data shows the April 12, 2068 impact probability is now 6.7 in a million (1 in 150,000), and the asteroid has a cumulative 9 in a million (1 in 110,000) chance of impacting Earth before 2106.
As per NASA JPL data, Apophis will be next close to Earth next year in January and October. It will also pass by our planet in 2021, 2024, 2027, 2028, 2029, 2036, 2037, 2058, 2066, 2072, 2073, 2094, 2101, 2102, 2123, 2124, 2130, and 2131. It is believed that the asteroid will be within just 19,000 miles (30,577km) of Earth’s surface in 2029.
In related news, Elon Musk recently voiced his concerns over the lack of a defence against asteroid collision.
“Great name! Wouldn’t worry about this particular one, but a big rock will hit Earth eventually & we currently have no defence,” Elon Musk tweeted in response to a tweet about Apophis.