Asteroid 2020 ND – a huge asteroid is set to move past Earth today, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has said. According to the American space agency, asteroid 2020 ND is nearly 170 metre-long and will be as close as 0.034 astronomical units (5,086,328 kilometres) to the Earth. Terming the asteroid as ‘potentially dangerous’, NASA has warned that the asteroid is travelling at a high speed of 48,000 kilometres per hour.
“Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth. Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of 0.05 au or less are considered PHAs,” a statement by NASA said.
NASA also stated that even if asteroids are classified as PHAs it will not necessarily impact the Earth. “It only means there is a possibility for such a threat. By monitoring these PHAs and updating their orbits as new observations become available, we can better predict the close-approach statistics and thus their Earth-impact threat,” NASA said in the statement.
The Asteroid 2020 ND is said to be bigger than the London Eye, almost about 170 meters. NASA had warned a week ago. It will come within just 0.034 astronomical units (AU) of the Earth, which means about 5,086,327 kilometres from our planet, which falls in the potential hazardous category by space agencies. Three other asteroids will fly past Earth this month, which includes 2020 MX3 on July 29 as well as the 2018 PY7 and the 2007 RF1 on July 31.