Last week, NASA issued a warning that two scary asteroids were approaching dangerously close to the planet on July 29 and 30. However, the Earth rode its luck yet again and escaped unscathed. Check details here.
The Earth could have been struck by two large asteroids but our planet got lucky last weekend. NASA had reported earlier that two massive asteroids — 2016 CZ31 (400-feet wide) and 2013 CU83 (600-feet wide) — were going to make their closest approach to our planet on July 29 and 30, respectively. While asteroids moving past our planet is not really a rare occurrence, the size of these two made it very scary. Among them, asteroid 2013 CU63 was classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid which added to its threat. If either of them struck our planet, it would cause a catastrophic event with major damage, large scale seismic activities and shockwaves that could cause further destruction. But luckily, both the asteroids made a safe passage away from Earth.
Earth gets lucky as it narrowly escapes two asteroids
According to the website of Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), part of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA, asteroid 2016 CZ31 flew past the Earth at 4:30 AM on July 29 and a day later, 2013 CU83 also made a safe passage around the same time. In terms of closeness to the Earth, 2016 CZ31 was way more dangerous as it flew from a distance of just 2.8 million kilometers from the Earth.
On the other hand, 2013 CU83 made the passage from a safer 6.9 million kilometers. If these distances make you feel that there was no real threat to the Earth, then you should know that the asteroids were moving at a speed of more than 55,000 kilometers per hour. At this speed, the first asteroid would have taken only about 50 hours to close the distance and strike the Earth if, for any reason, it had deviated even slightly from its path for some reason.
But even though the Earth has survived for now, a bigger threat is approaching the planet tomorrow. An asteroid, larger than both of these combined, is zooming towards the Earth. At 1,200-feet wide, asteroid 2022 OE02 is yet another potentially hazardous asteroid whose damage potential is very high. The Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), a department of NASA tasked with monitoring all the near Earth objects and coming up with anti-asteroid mechanisms, is constantly monitoring the space rock. This asteroid was spotted recently, and as such, not much is known about it, which makes it even more dangerous.