The European Space Agency (ESA) has detected an asteroid named as ‘2010 RF12’ which is all set to fly dangerously close to Earth on September 23, 2022.
Like NASA, the ESA maintains Close Approach Data in which it regularly updates a catalogue of asteroids that zip closely to Earth. Aside from monitoring close approaches, the space agency also maintains a special list that ranks asteroids based on their Earth-impact probability. As it is mentioned earlier, asteroid 2010 RF12 tops the ESA’s Risk List.
The near-Earth object was first discovered in September 5, 2010 during its close approach to Earth. At that time, the small asteroid passed in between the Earth and the Moon and flew at a distance of only 49,000 miles above Antarctica.
ESA predicted that 2010 RF12 will fly close to Earth September 23, 2022 and will be about 0.06847 astronomical units or roughly 6.4 million miles from the planet’s centre.
Earth is, however, safe in September 2022, the same cannot be said in 2095. The ESA has predicted that 2010 RF12 will come dangerously close to Earth during this time and could even enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The space agency further added that the probability of the asteroid hitting Earth in 2095 is only one out of 16.
Fortunately, 2010 RF12 is not very big as it is only 30 feet in diameter and weighs 500 tons, which is much smaller than the other asteroids on the list. As it is small in size, asteroid 2010 RF12 will probably burn up in Earth’s atmosphere upon entry and explode mid-air. However, this doesn’t mean that we are safe from the asteroid.
It is worth mentioning here that on December 18 last year, a large meteoroid was exploded over the Bering Sea, however, it went unnoticed due to the remote location. According to the NASA, the explosion of meteoroid unleashed around 173 kilotons of energy, more than 10 times that of the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima in World War II. Also, it was the most powerful explosion in the atmosphere since the fireball that burst over the Russian town of Chelyabinsk in 2013. That was 440 kilotons and left 1,500 people injured, mostly from glass flying out of smashed windows.