KEY POINTS

  • NASA detected two asteroids that are currently headed for Earth
  • One of the asteroids follows an Earth-crossing natural orbit

NASA is currently monitoring two asteroids that are currently headed for Earth.

The first asteroid that will fly past Earth tomorrow has been identified as 2020 FB4. As indicated in the data collected by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), this asteroid has an estimated diameter of about 85 feet. It is currently moving towards Earth at a speed of almost 14,000 miles per hour.

The second asteroid that will visit Earth’s vicinity tomorrow is known as 2020 FA1. According to CNEOS, this asteroid measures about 98 feet wide. Although it is bigger than 2020 FB4, 2020 FA1 travels at a much slower speed at about 5,000 miles per hour.

According to NASA, 2020 FB4 is an Amor asteroid, which means it follows a wide orbit around the Sun. 2020 FA1, on the other hand, belongs to the Apollo group of space rocks. Unlike Amors, Apollo asteroids are known to cross Earth’s path as it travels around the Sun.

Current data on the two approaching asteroids indicate that they are not in danger of colliding with Earth during their upcoming visits. However, if asteroids their size end up hitting the planet, they would not cause impact events on the ground. Instead, these asteroids will most likely burn up in the atmosphere and explode mid-air. Based on their size and speed, airbursts will occur at very high altitudes. H

According to CNEOS, 2020 FB4 will fly past Earth on March 31 at 8:30 am EDT from a distance of 0.03062 astronomical units or roughly 2.8 million miles away.

2020 FA1, on the other hand, will intersect Earth’s orbit on March 31 at 3:21 pm EDT. It will be about 0.04689 astronomical units or around 4.3 million miles from the planet’s center.

Asteroid Image: Artist illustration of an asteroid heading for the Earth Photo: Pixabay