A quite interesting asteroid that is thought to be 1.9 km (that's 1.2 miles) wide will fly past Earth next week, but it will not hit us. Scientists said that at one end of it there are features like hills and ridges, so it looks like it is masked.
It's classified as a "potentially hazardous" asteroid because it is more than 500 feet in diameter and closer than 4,650,000 miles to Earth. Among them is the team at the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico-which is still conducting observations despite the pandemic-who noticed some intriguing features on the space rock in the radar images that they captured.
"Impact of the Earth by an asteroid large enough to do damage at the surface is an extremely rare event, but it's an inevitable event", Johnson said.
An asteroid is considered "potentially hazardous" if it passes within 7.5 million kilometres of Earth.
In a separate Facebook post, NASA reiterates that asteroid 1998 OR2 poses no threat to our planet, but we can still learn a lot by studying it. NASA claims that all objects that fly pass by Earth within 50 million kilometres are considered as near-earth objects.
According to the information, this meteorite will pass close to the Earth around 5 am on April 29 and it will not cause any harm on the Earth. Only two of those approaches, in 2079 and 2127, will bring the asteroid closer to Earth than this year's flyby.
The Centre for Near Earth Objects has categorised it as a "potentially unsafe asteroid" as a result of its size and proximity to Earth.
"The radar measurements allow us to know more precisely where the asteroid will be in the future, including its future close approaches to Earth", Flaviane Venditti, a analysis scientist on the Arecibo Observatory mentioned. For example, Italian astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, who runs the online Virtual Telescope Project, has been tracking the asteroid as well.