An asteroid will be flying near our planet this week. But, even if it’s larger than the Empire State Building, we shouldn’t worry. The asteroid will be more than 5 million kilometers away from Earth. Here is what you need to know.
Asteroid 163348 (2002 NN4) Features and Other Significant Details
The asteroid dubbed 163348 (2002 NN4) is expected to fly at a speed of 11,146 kilometers/hour. It will pass our planet on Saturday, June 6, according to astronomers.
Asteroid 163348 (2002 NN4) has between 0.254 to 0.568 kilometers in diameter, being more massive than the Empire State Building in New York (0.4432 kilometers in height). NASA classified the space object as “Potentially Hazardous” because of its determined close pass with Earth.
Even if it’s considered small, the asteroid 163348 (2002 NN4) is still more prominent than the 90 % of other ones. It is categorized as both Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) and Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) and is an Aten-class Asteroid. The asteroid is believed to orbit the Sun every 300 days, performing a rotation on its axis every 14.50 days. It will approach Earth at 0.50 AU (astronomical units) and it will move as far as 1.26 AU from our host star.
“Asteroid 163348 (2002 NN4) is a very small asteroid whose orbit could bring it in close proximity to Earth,” stated the SpaceReference.org report.
Astronomers are foretelling many “close approaches” of asteroids with our planet in the future. While there are around 30 predictions/year, the recent asteroid will only return after nine years. In a statement, NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson explained that small asteroids similar to the 163348 (2002 NN4) safely fly near Earth for several times monthly.
On April 29, an intriguing asteroid dubbed 1998 OR2 came near Earth, 16 times farther than the length to the Moon at its closest. The space object was classified as both PHA and NEA. The 1998 OR2 space object looked like it was wearing a mask in a radar view picture shot by the Arecibo Observatory.