A space object more than a mile wide passed next to us, but the researchers already knew that it poses no danger. The asteroid dubbed 1998 OR2 flew at approximately 3.9 million miles away on April 29.
Such a range represents 16 times further than the length to the Moon. The Arecibo Observatory from Puerto Rico has been monitoring the space object as it approaches after NASA first detected in 1998. Researchers have laughed that the recent picture of 1998 OR2 seems it is wearing a mask because of the debris and dust passing around it. It appears that the asteroid remembered to wear a mask, as we’re all thinking about the COVID-19 situation.
Massive Asteroid 1998 OR2 Passed Earth
Asteroid 1998 OR2 is part of the PHO category (potentially hazardous object) because it is more significant than 140 meters, and it will approach us within 5 million miles. The small-scale-topographic characteristics such as ridges and hills on one edge of the asteroid are genuinely fascinating, and scientists are proud of their observations. Until now, no discovered PHO posed an immediate threat to Earth, so there’s no need to worry at all. Scientists, however, will always keep a watchful eye on the asteroid to see how it will fly beyond 2020.
“The radar measurements allow us to know more precisely where the asteroid will be in the future, including its future close approaches to Earth,” explained Flaviane Venditti, a scientist at the observatory. In 2079, for example, researchers estimated that asteroid OR2 will pass our planet around 3.5 times closer than it will do now. So, it’s better to know the asteroid’s orbit precisely. The observation began on April 13.
Even if the massive asteroid 1998 OR2 was not projected to crash Earth, it is essential to comprehend the features of these types of space rocks to enhance the impact-risk mitigation technologies in the future.