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'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid the Size of Golden Gate Bridge Approaching Earth at 11 km/s

CC0 / / Asteroid and the Earth
Asteroid and the Earth - Sputnik International
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Several space rocks are expected to cross paths with earth this month, but the largest one, and potentially the most dangerous, is the Apollo-class 1997 BQ asteroid, as researchers believe that any space objects measuring close to one kilometre in diameter could have devastating consequences for our planet.

NASA disclosed that 1997 BQ asteroid, also known as 136795, will “closely approach” Earth on the evening of 21 May, sweeping round at a speed of around 11.6 kilometre per second. The space rock was first observed back in January 1997 and is measured at between 0.668 and 1.493 kilometers in diameter, judging by its brightness, which makes it “roughly” comparable in size to the Golden Gate Bridge, the space agency notes.

The asteroid is deemed “potentially hazardous” by NASA, as it belongs to the Apollo category of space rocks, the trajectory of which crosses the orbit of our planet. It might be too early to sound an alarm though, as 1997 BQ will only approach our home from a distance of 0.04115 astronomical units, or 6.156 million kilometres in human terms.

An artist's concept of catastrophic collisions between asteroids located in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. - Sputnik International
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However, NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies is closely monitoring the object which is considered to be larger than 97% of other space asteroids. Any rocks that are close to one kilometre in size can be potentially dangerous to our planet, the National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy revealed in 2018, as they can create a significant regional impact with secondary effects such as tsunamis, without even making contact with the earth.

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