On March 21, a massive asteroid flies over the Earth. We have known about this space rock, almost 2 km wide, for almost 20 years, and scientists are waiting for its approach, since it is the largest and fastest among all known asteroids in all of 2021.
According to NASA’s Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects (CNEOS), about a hundred known asteroids should fly by Earth by the end of 2021. Among them, one of them stands out, named (231937) 2001 FO32. …
At 1.1 kilometers wide, it is the largest known asteroid to fly past us this year. According to astronomical data, its width can reach 1.7 km.
Of the roughly 25,000 near-Earth asteroids we know of, only about three and a half percent are more than one kilometer in size. This puts (231937) 2001 FO32 in a rather rare class.
This space rock is also the fastest moving asteroid. While most asteroids are simply “moving” past us at less than 10 km / s, the (231937) 2001 FO32 will fly by at 34.4 km / s, or nearly 124,000 km / h.
Discovered on March 23, 2001 (231937) 2001, FO32 is classified as the asteroid Apollo. Orbiting the Sun approximately every 810 days, it travels from inside Mercury’s orbit to the asteroid belt and back. This path means that it crosses the Earth’s orbit. However, when this happens, sometimes we are on the other side of the sun, and sometimes we are closer.
Based on NASA records, on March 21, 2021 we will see the closest collision ever with (231937) 2001 FO32. It hasn’t come close since the early 1900s. He will not come close to us in the future, at least until 2200 and probably much later.
Despite its size and speed, (231937) 2001 FO32 poses no threat to Earth. When the asteroid passes on the 21st, the distance to it is over 2 million kilometers. This is more than 5 times farther than the distance of the Moon in its orbit around the Earth.