The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has warned that a massive asteroid is approaching the Earth and will cross the planet on July 24. The asteroid named “Asteroid 2020 ND” has also been classified among Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA) by the space agency as it could threaten and harm the planet while passing from a close distance from it. In a similar development, two other asteroids 2016 DY30 and 2020 ME3 are expected to pass close from the Earth today, according to the Indian Express.
In a statement issued the space agency said that all orbits having a minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of 0.05 astronomical units(au) or less threaten the planet and are classified as PHAs. It also said that the asteroid that will pass on July 24 is 170 metre in length and will pass the planet at a distance of 0.034 au which is equivalent to 5,086,328 kilometres.
Similarly, NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has predicted that the 2016 DY30 asteroid will pass the planet at a distance of 0.02306 au which translates to roughly 34 lakh kilometre. The asteroid has also been put under the category of Apollo asteroid as it crosses the Earth’s path while travelling around the Sun.
The least harmful of the lot is the 2020 ME3 asteroid as it will move adjacent to the Earth at a distance of 0.03791 au which is more than 56 lakh kilometre. It has also been categorised as an Amor asteroid as it never crosses the Earth’s path and only flies in close proximity to the planet on several occasions.
What has further troubled the scientists is the ferocious speed at which the two asteroids expected to cross the planet on Sunday are travelling. While 2016 DY30 is travelling at a speed of 54000 kilometre per hour, the 2020 ME3 is coming in the direction of the Earth at 16000 kmph. Out of the two asteroids, 2016 DY30 is the smaller one with a width of around 15 feet.