Asteroid makes closest ever approach to our planet at 26,574.8 mph

The space rock skimmed our planet on April 13.

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The asteroid known as the NASA Asteroid 2019 GN, skimmed Earth on a so-called "Earth Close Approach" trajectory. The space agency's asteroid trackers said the space rock flew past our planet on April 13.

Asteroid makes closest ever approach to our planet at 26,574.8 mph

 

Astronomers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said that this is the asteroid's closest possible approach to the Earth as the orbits the Sun. JPL also estimated that the space rock hurtled at speeds of around 26,574.8 mph (42,768kph) or 11.88km per second.

NASA said that the asteroid managed to approach our planet from a distance of 0.00443 astronomical units (AU). One AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is around 93 million miles. This means the space rock passed from an incredibly close distance, which is 1.72 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

However, there's no immediate risk for the life-sustaining on Earth in the foreseeable future. Asteroid GN is a so-called "Near-Earth Object" or NEO which means it crosses paths with our planet occasionally.

The European Space Agency (ESA) explained: "The word NEO stands for Near-Earth Object, indicating a small body of the Solar System which can come into the Earth neighborhood. A broad classification of NEOs distinguishes NECs, Near-Earth Comets, from, NEAs, Near-Earth Asteroid, which constitute the vast majority of NEOs."

Besides, NASA is also working on an asteroid defense technology. The space agency has also chosen SpaceX to work on its first-ever attempt to deflect a space rock that's hurtling at high speed in space.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will be launched with the help of a Falcon 9 rocket in June 2021 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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