A massive asteroid, discovered last month, is traveling toward Earth at 20 miles a second

Asteroid 2022 OE2

The asteroid 2022 OE2 falls in this category of asteroids which astronomers had no idea was approaching the Earth. According to Next Five Asteroid approaches webpage maintained by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the asteroid is about 700 feet (213 m) in size, approximately the size of a stadium.

It will fly past the Earth at a distance of 3.2 million miles (5.2 million km) which is a fair distance if you consider that the Moon is just 239,000 miles (385,000 km) away. However, all objects that are within 4.6 million miles (7.5 million km) from the Earth are listed on the page, while an object bigger than 492 feet (150 m) is classified as potentially hazardous.

Therefore, asteroid 2022 OE2 carries a significant risk since a collision with another asteroid, or the effect of the gravitational pull of a larger celestial object can significantly alter its trajectory and send it towards the Earth instead of merely flying by.

Thwarting asteroids away from Earth

Interestingly, all the following five asteroid approaches on the webpage happen to be asteroids that have been discovered this year. Three of them, including 2022 OE2, are happening today, August 4, while two are happening tomorrow, August 5.

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