• NASA detected two asteroids currently approaching Earth
  • Both asteroids follow Earth-crossing natural orbits
  • The asteroids are not capable of causing impact events

NASA has spotted two small asteroids that are expected to fly past Earth soon. As indicated in the data collected by the agency, the incoming asteroids will intersect Earth’s orbit.

The two asteroids are currently being monitored by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). According to CNEOS, the first asteroid that will approach Earth on Thursday (June 25) is called 2017 FW128.

This asteroid has an estimated diameter of about 62 feet. It is currently traveling across the Solar System towards Earth at an average speed of about 12,000 miles per hour.

Trailing behind 2017 FW128 is an asteroid known as 2020 MA. CNEOS estimated that this asteroid measures about 171 feet wide. It will fly past the planet at an average velocity of over 17,000 miles per hour.

After studying the trajectories of 2017 FW128 and 2020 MA, NASA noted that both asteroids have greater orbital axes than Earth. As indicated in the asteroids’ orbit diagrams, the two space rocks follow elongated trajectories that extend beyond the orbit of Mars.

Occasionally, 2017 FW128 and 2020 MA intersect Earth’s orbit as they complete their cycles around the Sun. Due to their orbital axis and Earth-crossing trajectories, the two asteroids have been classified as members of the Apollo family of space rocks.

If these asteroids end up hitting the planet during their near-Earth intersections, they most likely won’t cause impact events. Due to their size, the two asteroids will probably burn up in the atmosphere and explode in the sky instead of hitting the ground.

Given their sizes, the energy from the blasts that will be produced by the asteroids will be equivalent to multiple atomic bombs.

As indicated in CNEOS’ database, these two asteroids are not in danger of hitting Earth during their upcoming visits. 2017 FW128 is expected to safely fly past the planet at 9:43 a.m. EDT from a distance of 0.01756 astronomical units or roughly 1.6 million miles away.

2020 MA, on the other hand, will approach Earth at 6:35 p.m. EDT. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.01369 astronomical units or about 1.3 million miles from the planet’s center.

Pictured; an artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth. NASA