Space rocks approaching towards Earth can pose a threat to human beings if even one of them collide with the planet. In order to keep us safe, asteroid trackers have their eyes on such objects orbiting in our space. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, is tracking one such asteroid called as 2019 CO1. According to a report in Express UK, the asteroid 2019 CO1 is headed on an Earth Close Approach Trajectory, meaning, it will cross path with the blue planet’s orbit, precisely on Saturday, at around 9:13 IST.
According to the report, the 50 feet large asteroid is moving towards our planet at the speed of 32,000 mph (51,696kph) and is expected to fly by Earth at a whopping 51,696 kilometres per hour.
Asteroid CO1 has been broadly classified as a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” (PHA) and “Near-Earth Object” (NEO) which is confined to the inner solar system. The space rock orbits the Sun on a trajectory comparable to that of Asteroid 1862 Apollo. According to the space agency, all PHAs are asteroids with the size of 150m (500 feet) or larger approaching closer to Earth.
“A relatively small number of near-Earth objects pass close enough to Earth and are large enough in size to warrant close observation. That's because the gravitational tug of the planets could, over time, cause an object's orbital path to evolve into an Earth-crossing orbit. This allows for the possibility of a future collision,” National Aeronautics and Space Administration was quoted as saying in the report.
The report states that asteroid will near-miss the Earth from a distance of just 0.03561 astronomical units (au). A single astronomical unit measures the distance from Earth to the Sun or 93 million miles or 149.6 million km. One can think the distance is huge and we are safe, but considering the grand size of our universe, it is going to be a pretty close brush.