Scientist are asking people not to panic after NASA reported a giant-sized asteroid would make the closest approach to earth this Sunday.
The giant space rock named 2001 FO32 by researchers has a diameter of several hundred metres and will approach Earth at a distance of about two million kilometres (1.2 million miles), US space agency NASA said.
That distance is more than five times as far as the Earth to the moon.
“It’s stable, it’s not on a risky course,” Detlef Koschny, an asteroid expert at the European Space Agency, told dpa news agency, adding that the celestial object will be available for viewing by amateur astronomers with the proper equipment.
“We know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 around the sun very accurately, since it was discovered 20 years ago and has been tracked ever since,” said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies, which is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California.
Scientist have assured people that the asteroid would only pass through and not make contact, hence it posses no threat at all to earth.
According to NASA, this particular asteroid, which orbits the sun once every 810 days, will fly past Earth at a speed of about 124,000kph (77,000mph) and after its visit on Sunday, it will not come as close to Earth again until 2052.