Giant asteroid BO76 flies past Earth at 50,000 km/h this week: everything you need to know

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NASA said a giant asteroid will make a close approach to Earth this week. Scientists have determined the size of the space rock – dubbed 2013 BO76 – to be around 200 to 450 meters wide and it will be traveling at a breathtaking speed of 50,000 km/h. Although NASA has classified the asteroid as “potentially dangerous,” it is expected to fly by at a safe distance from Earth. The asteroid — the size of a soccer stadium — will make its closest approach to Earth early Friday in India, according to NASA.

NASA said the closest asteroid will be over 51 lakh kilometers from us – more than 13 times the distance between the Moon and Earth. So why is it classified as potentially dangerous? The classification is used by scientists based on an asteroid’s size and its potential to fly close to Earth. That doesn’t necessarily mean the asteroid is dangerously close to Earth.

So why is it called “close approach”? It’s a relative term. Astronomers see some asteroids passing closer to Earth than usual. In reality, these close approaches could be many times the Earth-Moon distance.

Because of this, asteroid BO76 has been included on NASA’s list of upcoming “close approaches.”

According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), as asteroid BO76 approaches this close this week, it would be traveling at about 50,000 km/h.

CNEOS tracks celestial bodies daily to issue warnings of those that are getting closer. But the agency has regularly asserted that it has not found any large asteroid that poses a risk of colliding with Earth in the foreseeable future. Small asteroids often fall from space around the world. The last time a giant asteroid hit Earth, it wiped out the dinosaurs from the planet.

NASA is working on technology to alter the trajectory of an asteroid that posed a threat to Earth.

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