Bus-size asteroid to zoom by Earth, ducking below satellites
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. — An asteroid the size of a school bus is headed our way, but NASA says the space rock will zoom safely past Earth on Thursday.
The newly discovered asteroid will come within 22,000 kilometres of Earth, well below many of the communications satellites orbiting the planet, scientists said. The closest approach will occur Thursday morning over the southeastern Pacific Ocean. It won’t be back near Earth until 2041.
Scientists estimate the asteroid is between 4.5 metres and nine metres. By asteroid standards, that’s considered puny. Asteroids of this size hit Earth’s atmosphere and burn up once every year or two, said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-earth Object Studies at NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory.