(Mirror Daily, United States) – According to NASA, we’re getting an asteroid flyby for Christmas, which rounds up the year nicely considering we had one for Halloween as well. The infamous space object that flew by our planet on October 31st made headlines in regards to its potential for collision, which was none.
This particularly jolly asteroid will be no different, as it will swing by Earth with no danger of causing any harmful consequences. It will simply be an early present for astronomers who have a bit of knowledge, luck, and a proper telescope to get a good view of the flying rock. Their odds would be much better than spotting Santa though.
NASA named the asteroid a very non-descriptive 163899, also known as 2003 SD220, but it’s almost certain that the internet will offer it a name soon enough. A similar thing happened with the Halloween asteroid, so it’s pretty sure that social media will start posting ideas. So, most should expect something Christmas-themed, although NASA won’t officially change its name. That’s disappointing for some.
Asteroid 163899 will be at a safe distance, flying by at 6.7 million miles away. That’s essentially 28 times further away from our planet than the moon, so it will pose as no danger. There were rumors that the ‘close’ encounter might see to seismic activity across Earth, but NASA dismissed the possibility. The space object will not pass anywhere near enough to have consequences on our planet.
It will, however, fly by at 5 miles per second. Asteroid 163899 is estimated to be between 0.5 and 1.5 miles in width, and is actually on NASA’s Near-Earth Object Programme. That means that the space agency is investigating the possibility of landing upon it for mining or research. For now though, it won’t have any close encounters with astronauts, or humans for that matter.
All astronomers could do is watch and wave as it shoots by our planet on Christmas Eve.
NASA is fully aware of its path, and they have stated it won’t be colliding with Earth at least for the next 200 years. But, it will not be the last time we see it. In fact, asteroid 163899 will fly by our planet again in December 2018, and December 2021, so it’s apparently coming in time for the holidays again.
This will be the first of a total of five encounters in the next 12 years, according to NASA. At the very least, it will come close enough for radar detection, which is important for the space agency. In the next few decades though, we might be paying it a visit instead.
Image source: beforeitsnews.com
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