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The most important asteroid predicted to move by our planet in 2021 can be at its closest on March 21, NASA has mentioned, including that there isn’t a menace of a collision with Earth. Referred to as 2001 FO32, the near-Earth asteroid will make its closest strategy at a distance of about two million kilometres, the US house company mentioned on Thursday. The asteroid is about as 0.eight to 1.7 kilometres in diameter, in line with a report in Stay Science.

“We all know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 across the Solar very precisely, because it was found 20 years in the past and has been tracked ever since,” mentioned Paul Chodas, Director of the Centre for Close to Earth Object Research (CNEOS), which is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, mentioned in an announcement.

“There isn’t a likelihood the asteroid will get any nearer to Earth than 1.25 million miles. Nonetheless, that distance is shut in astronomical phrases, which is why 2001 FO32 has been designated a “probably hazardous asteroid.” Throughout this strategy, 2001 FO32 will move by at about 124,000 kph — sooner than the velocity at which most asteroids encounter Earth. The rationale for the asteroid’s unusually speedy shut strategy is its extremely inclined and elongated (or eccentric) orbit across the Solar, an orbit that’s tilted 39 levels to Earth’s orbital aircraft.

This orbit takes the asteroid nearer to the Solar than Mercury and twice as removed from the Solar as Mars. The March 21 encounter will present a chance for astronomers to get a extra exact understanding of the asteroid’s dimension and albedo – i.e. how vibrant, or reflective, its floor is — and a tough thought of its composition. This can be achieved, partially, with the usage of NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), a 3.2-metre telescope atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea that can observe the asteroid within the days main as much as shut strategy utilizing its workhorse infrared spectrograph, SpeX. “We’re attempting to do geology with a telescope,” mentioned Vishnu Reddy, Affiliate Professor on the College of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson.

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