NASA's automated systems at the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies or CNEOS in California just tracked an asteroid that will fly by Earth on March 27, 2020. The asteroid has been named Asteroid 2012 XA133 by experts because the rocky body was first confirmed circulating the solar system in December 2012.
NASA expects that the asteroid will come flying close on the Earth's zone, but the asteroid will be millions of miles away as it will only fly by in astronomical terms.
According to NASA, NEOs can occasionally approach the Earth's zone as they orbit the Sun, but the term "close" astronomically means that it will be very far away, it can be millions or tens of millions of kilometers away from the Earth. On March 27, the asteroid will fly by Earth from a distance of about 0.04453 astronomical units.
A single astronomical unit shows the distance of the asteroid from Earth to the Sun, which is about 93 million miles or 149.6 million km. Asteroid XA133 will cut down the distance to about 4.1 million miles or 6.66 million km. This means that even at its closest distance, the asteroid will be 17.33 times as far away as the Moon is from Earth.
About Asteroid XA133
Asteroid XA133 is included in the group of asteroids and comets known as near-Earth objects or NEOs. NEOs usually visit the plant and they ping-up on the radars of NASA's CNEOS. The European Space Agency can also track NEOs.
According to NASA, asteroids and comets have all been pushed into the cosmic neighborhood of the Earth by the gravitational push and pull of the other plants that are in the solar system.
NASA stated that some asteroids and comets follow the orbital paths that take them closer than usual to the Sun and Earth. If an asteroid or a comet's approach brings it to 1.3 astronomical units of the Sun, it is automatically called a near-Earth object. NEOs may give needed raw materials for future interplanetary exploration and some should be easy to land on in case of future exploration.
Asteroid XA133 is said to measure around the region of 590ft and 1,279ft or 180m and 390m across. At the upper end of NASA's estimate, it shows that the asteroid stands taller than the famous Empire State Building in New York, USA. At the lower end of NASA's estimate, the asteroid is taller than St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
Asteroid XA133 is also flying at a speed of 23.67 km per second or around 52,948 mph. Even though massive asteroids have struck Earth before, NASA states that there is no threat to the safety of the planet and they said that there is no massive object that is likely to hit Earth in the next hundred years.
What if an asteroid hit Earth?
According to NASA, asteroids would have a massive amount of energy if it falls from the sky. If an asteroid hits the planet, it will have an impact that is equivalent to a 1 million megaton bomb and could potentially wipe out half of the life on the planet. NASA assures that it will not happen in our lifetime, and if an asteroid does come close to the planet's zone, NASA has a special team of experts that can make sure it won't hit Earth.