A massive asteroid will fly by the Earth tonight, according to data offered by NASA. The American space agency underlined the fact that this will be the closest flyby in the last three centuries. The Near-Earth Object, which is known under the name of 2012 KZ41, is thought to have a maximum diameter of 187 feet, which makes it up to 4 times longer than the average city bus.
The asteroid travels through space at a mind-bending speed of 43,300 kilometers per hour. It is estimated that 2012 KZ41 will fly by Earth on June 3 at 11:43 PM Summer Time. The closest distance between the asteroid and our planet will reach 0.00968 astronomical units or almost 1,4 million kilometers.
The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies has collected a large amount of information about the asteroid, spanning from 1903 and up 2200 ( by using advanced simulations).
The massive asteroid that will fly by the Earth tonight is a Near-Earth Object (NEO)
In May 2012 the asteroid came at a distance of 0.02093 astronomical units, or almost 3.1 million kilometers. According to the simulations created by the CNEOS, in 2017 the asteroid will come close to our planet again, approaching Earth at a distance of 0.01372 astronomical units or 2 million kilometers.
2012 KZ41 is a part of a group of asteroids which regularly pass by Earth. The object carries the near-Earth object designation, but NASA has stated that risk of a collision is inexistent. A scary report was published in 1998 when researchers from the Minor Planet Center found in Massachusetts thought that our planet would be hit by an asteroid known as 1997 XF11 in 2028.
NASA debunked the report, and the agency stated that 1997 XF11 or other asteroids would not hit the Earth. The CNEOS team created an elaborate system which uses a constant stream of data to offer real-time maps and the location of asteroids and other objects.
NASA and other space agencies are also working on a robust defense strategy against threats which may surface in the future.
Bo has over six years experience as a teacher, advocate and speaker. He has a B.S. from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Human rights from Harvard University Graduate School.