A meteor, rushing 7.9 kilometres per second, is heading towards Earth and is expected to skim passed it on 12 January, The Daily Express reports, citing NASA. The asteroid, dubbed 2020 AB2, is 15 metres wide and 10 metres.
It is set to come as close as 0.011 astronomical units, or 1,645,576 kilometres, to Earth, which caught NASA’s attention and prompted the US space agency to take notice. The asteroid has been defined by its researchers as a Near Earth Object (NEO). Such space guests allow them to get a better understanding of the solar system’s past.
“NEOs are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood. The scientific interest in comets and asteroids is due largely to their status as the relatively unchanged remnant debris from the solar system formation process some 4.6 billion years ago,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) explains.