The asteroid approaching the Earth does not pose a threat to the planet, says Aleksey Baigashov, head of the astro-community of the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU) in Kaliningrad.
Earlier, NASA informed that an asteroid with the number 163373 with a diameter of 440 to 990 meters will approach the Earth at a minimum distance on February 15. The asteroid was discovered in 1995 and belongs to the Apollo group, whose paths cross the Earth's orbit, so they are potentially dangerous. According to open data, the next time an asteroid will fly near Earth is in 2075.
"In mid-February, the asteroid will pass behind the Earth, approaching it at a minimum distance of 0.039 astronomical units. In our usual units of measurement, this distance is enormous - almost 6 million kilometers. For comparison, the Moon is 15 times closer to the Earth. Such an asteroid flyby does not carry any, even a hypothetical threat to the Earth and its inhabitants, "said Baigashov, quoted by the press service of the university.
According to the scientist, a collision with the Earth of this asteroid will have catastrophic consequences, since the energy released during the impact is thousands of times greater than the most powerful thermonuclear explosion, but the likelihood of this is negligible. The last time a large (about 10 kilometers) asteroid fell to Earth was 66 million years ago, causing the Chikshulub crater in Mexico and the mass extinction of dinosaurs.
Baigashov noted that astronomers from all over the world are constantly tracking the movements of all potentially dangerous space objects, and modern computing facilities make it possible to simulate their trajectories for years to come, warning in advance of possible danger.