You may have seen reports that a life-ending asteroid was hurtling towards us last week. Let us explain why that was never really the case.
Various Hollywood movies have made many of us believe the Earth is closer to extinction than it really is. Well, the planet is pretty much spent and might be on the brink of becoming uninhabitable, but that’s due to acts we are performing here on the surface, not because a massive space rock is hurtling towards us at an incredible speed.
Truth be told, the chances of that happening are slim-to-none. The sad reality is humankind will probably end itself before anything from space steps in and does the job for us. However, that doesn’t stop NASA from letting us know when a “potentially hazardous” asteroid is on its way, and the world getting worried every time that it does.
Those of you paying attention to your timelines last week might have read something along those lines. Various outlets reported that an asteroid bigger than the tallest man-made structure ever built was at risk of connecting with Earth. As you might imagine, a rock of that size hitting our planet would cause a mass extinction for humans and pretty much every other living thing we share this sphere with.
An asteroid did pass by Earth last weekend. However, it was 5.7 km away even when it was at its closest. To put that into perspective, that’s roughly 15 times further away than the moon is from the Earth. Anything estimated to come closer to Earth than 7.5 million km is considered “potentially hazardous” by NASA, but only because its orbit might shift in the future.
There are actually multiple asteroids passing by Earth every month. This last one was just so big that it warranted some major headlines. NASA uses something called the Torino Scale to determine how likely an asteroid is to collide with Earth. It goes all the way up to ten and at the time of typing this, there are none rated higher than zero. Nothing to worry about just yet folks, so keep recycling and trying to save the planet as we might be here a while.
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