New Delhi: Asteroids of the size of a house, several as big as a bus and one as large as an aeroplane will flyby close to the earth between Saturday and Monday.
On Saturday, two asteroids, one identified as 2021 TJ15, the size of a bus will fly by as close as 239,000 miles from the earth. While the other, with the size of a house will flyby 1,780,000 miles away.
On Sunday, another bus (2021 TH13) and one jumbo jet-size asteroid (2021 TJ12) will fly close by the earth. On Monday there will be another bus-size asteroid flyby, it will reach closest to the earth at 153,000 miles away.
For comparison, the average distance between Earth and the moon is about 239,000 miles.
A 525-foot wide 2021 SM3 whized past on Friday, according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.
Seven larger asteroids are predicted to pass close by the earth before the end of November, the biggest of which, 2004 UE, has a diameter of 1,246 feet, data shared by NASA showed.
At 2.1 million miles, asteroid 1996 VB3, will pass closest to Earth on October 20. Scientists say that, although very close by interstellar standards, none of the asteroids will be visible without a telescope.
On Saturday, NASA launch a spacecraft, Lucy, on a 12-year mission to observe eight asteroids in Jupiter’s Trojan asteroid field.
Lucy was launched at 5.34 a.m. Eastern Time (0934 GMT) on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
During its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, flying by one main belt asteroid, and seven Trojans.
Lucy is the first space mission to study the Trojan asteroids, and also NASA’s longest mission lasting for 12 years.
Trojans are small bodies that are remnants of early solar systems. They orbit the Sun in two loose groups, with one group leading ahead of Jupiter in its orbit, and the other trailing behind.