Washington, Nov 3: A large asteroid will have a close encounter with Earth on Nov. 8, NASA has revealed.
According to NASA, the asteroid 2005 YU55 will come within approximately 201,700 miles of Earth. That’s 0.85 the distance from Earth to the moon, ABC News reported.
This would give scientists a rare close-up of a space rock that could hold valuable clues to our planet’s origins as well as our potential interplanetary future.
Asteroids often pass this close, but they are too small to spark much interest.
This one is 1,300 feet wide – the size of an aircraft carrier. It is roughly spherical, spinning slowly and darker than charcoal, according to past NASA radar observations.
Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., said this flyby is an opportunity to learn more about c-type – that is, carbon-based asteroids in case one is threatening to hit us.
It will also offer “clues as to what it was like when our solar system was forming,” he said.
Asteroids like this one likely delivered organic, carbon-based materials to Earth, enabling life. “Without objects of this type, we probably wouldn’t be here,” he stated.
Moreover, c-type asteroids could be resources for future space exploration.
Because they often contain water resources and the compound that constitutes jet fuel, they could help us build “fuelling stations and watering holes for interplanetary travel,” Yeomans added. (ANI)