Asteroid as big as a blue whale set to zoom past Earth on Friday

An asteroid the size of a blue whale is set to safely zoom past the Earth on Friday.

According to Nasa’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies, the asteroid named 2015 FF is going to make a close approach to Earth on August 12.

The asteroid, classed by astronomers as ‘potentially hazardous’, has an estimated diameter between 42 and 92 feet (13 and 28 metres) travelling at about 33,012 km per hour.

In comparison, a blue whale can grow to about 32 metres in length making it the largest living animal in the world.

Nasa classifies asteroids that come within less than 7.5 million km of Earth as ‘potentially hazardous’ but you can rest assured that there’s nothing to worry about this one.

It’s expected to come as close as 4.3 million kilometres to Earth. That’s over eight times the distance between the Moon and the Earth, so you can rest assured that it won’t be apocalyptic in the least.

Nasa flags any space object that comes within 193 million km of Earth as a ‘near-Earth object’ and any fast-moving object within 7.5 million km is categorized as ‘potentially hazardous’.

Once the objects are flagged, astronomers closely monitor them, looking for any deviation from their predicted trajectories putting them dangerously close to Earth.  

Nasa has been tracking the trajectories of all near-Earth objects beyond the end of the century and it looks like the Earth is in no grave danger for at least the next 100 years.

In the event that a space object is getting too close for comfort Nasa has been working on deflecting it using its recent Double Asteroid Redirection Mission (DART) mission.

Currently, the DART mission is 48 days away from its collision with Didymos – a ‘binary’ asteroid consisting of a small rock orbiting a larger one. The smaller asteroid, called Dimorphos – is Nasa’s exact target.

The collision is set to occur on September 26 with a goal to effect a 10-minute change in Dimorphos’ orbit.

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