A massive nearly asteroid nearly half a kilometer in diameter is accelerating toward Earth and will take a “close approach” this week. Named 2008 TZ3 or asteroid 388945, the giant piece of space rock is estimated to be between 220 and 490 meters, according to NASA’s Earth Close Approaches (NEO) tracker. At its maximum approximate size of 490 meters or about 1,600 feet, the asteroid lowers some of the largest man-made monuments on the planet’s surface.
The asteroid must make a “close approach” on May 15. But there is no reason to worry, because the brush with the Earth will still keep it 3.5 million miles from us. With its huge size, it is larger than the most massive monument in India, the 182-meter Statue of Unity in Gujarat. READ Why are Indian twin satellites for studying the Earth’s upper atmosphere called DISHA?
The threat of a collision with space objects is real and millions are being spent on tracking potentially dangerous objects. The 2008 TZ3 has been tracked in the past and will be in the future. Although it will take a close approach this week, it came even closer in May 2020 to about half the distance this time. READ At this point, the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs hit Earth
An asteroid with an orbital period around the sun of 732 days, the asteroid visits Earth every two years. While we can expect a few more in our lifetime, no one would come close to that in all probability. The next time it passes, the 2008 TZ3 will be about twice the distance of 6.9 million miles. It will then come as close as the May 15 shave in May 2163, almost 140 years later. READ What is the mission of NASA CAPSTONE and its importance for the study of the moon