© iStock / Plus / dottedhippo
NASA has published an alert that five asteroids are passing near Earth, as the agency’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft prepares to land on a space rock 200 million miles away.
And the first 3 space rocks passed within close proximity to Earth without significant accidents, according to the Asteroid Watch Widget, which tracks asteroids and comets that will be relatively close to our planet.
The 2020 TJ6, which has a diameter of 10 meters, passed our planet at an amazing speed of 40,824 km per hour, but at a safe distance of 1.2 million km. It was followed by the asteroid 2020 UX, the smallest of the five space rocks, at a distance of 190,000 km, as well as 2020 TD6, with a diameter of 7.4 meters.
2020 UK approached on Monday 19 October, over 6.2 million km away.
Asteroid TF6 blasted at 43,200 km per hour, just 153,000 km away.
None of these space events can be compared to the very close flyby of the asteroid Bennu, which is located 200 million miles from Earth, which is expected to happen on Tuesday.
OSIRIS-REx will make its first attempt to collect a sample from the space rock before 2 p.m. EST, on Tuesday. The spacecraft is expected to land on the asteroid for only a few seconds, which is long enough for its robotic arm to blow up the surface with a high-pressure gas and suck out some of the asteroid’s space dust for analysis here on Earth.
“We are cautiously optimistic that this will be the only time we will touch the surface,” said Richard Burns, project manager OSIRIS-Rex at NASA’s Goddard Flight Center.