Two asteroids shot closer to the earth than the moon this month - with more close encounters expected

Two asteroids shot closer to the earth than the moon this month - with more close encounters expected

Two asteroids have shot past the Earth this week, coming closer to the planet than the Moon – and more close encounters are expected during the rest of the year. The first asteroid, called 2020 RD4, was between three and seven meters wide. This is approximately one third the distance between the Earth and the Moon, which are 384,400 kilometers apart. It was between five and 11 meters wide, shooting by the planet at a distance of approximately 106,000 kilometers (65,700 miles). The space debris was recorded by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Center for Near Earth Object Studies, which tracks and predicts asteroids. Neither bodies came near the record for the closest asteroid to pass by the Earth, which was broken in August by asteroid 2020 QG, which came just 1,830 miles over the southern Indian Ocean, but are indicative of how many objects come by the planet safely every day. Within the next two months, many more objects are expected to pass by the planet, although only one will get as close to our planet. Between now and the end of the year only one – asteroid RZ6 – will get closer to the Earth than our Moon. It will pass by on 17 September, but is a staggering 27 meters wide between its most distant points. However, this is still relatively small; an asteroid called MP7, expected to pass by at the end of the month, is an astonishing 200 meters wide. Another celestial object is expected to pass by ...
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