New Delhi: In the wake of predictions that an asteroid the size of four football fields is speeding towards Earth, Dr Suvendu Pattnaik, Deputy Director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium in Odisha, says there’s no reason to fear because the same asteroid has passed Earth before, at a much closer distance. Dr. Pattnaik also indicated that the asteroid ‘2008 GO20’ had little danger of colliding with the planet. He also mentioned that the asteroid will return to Earth in 2034.
“We should not be alarmed. We can confidently predict that it will not strike the Earth “ANI quoted Dr. Pattnaik as saying.
“In 1935 and 1977, this asteroid passed by Earth at a significantly closer distance of 19 lakh km and 29 lakh km, respectively. It took off at that time and never returned to the earth. It’s roughly 45 lakh kilometres this time, which is around 11 to 12 times the earth-moon distance, therefore there’s no chance of it colliding with the planet “Added he.
According to Dr. Pattnaik, the ‘2008 G20’ will come closest to the planet on July 25, 2021 at 11:21 p.m. local time (IST). He also disclosed that the massive asteroid is expected to be 97 metres wide and 230 metres long, almost the size of four football fields combined. He noted that it is approaching the earth at a speed of 29,000 kilometres per hour, or an average of 8 kilometres per second.
“Anything that enters the course of the asteroid will be killed,” Dr. Pattnaik noted, given the asteroid’s rapid speed. Many asteroids orbit the sun between Mars and Jupiter, according to Dr. Pattnaik. They might be as small as a metre or as large as hundreds of kilometres. He went on to say that while some of these millions of asteroids are attracted to the earth by gravitational pull, over 99.9% of them are burned to ashes in the atmosphere before they reach the surface.
“Scientists have established a list of about 23,628 big asteroids that are approaching Earth and are tracking their progress. Only 1,045 of these have been designated as potentially harmful asteroids, known as Near Earth Objects (NEO) “he stated
Many organisations and scientists are monitoring such objects as they approach the Earth. Astronomers and scientists have been working nonstop to find a way to shield the world from a disaster like this.