- An asteroid called 2015 BN509 could eventually crash into Earth
- It came pretty close by our planet last week, and NASA alerted about it
- The space rock was filmed by The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico
An asteroid NASA was able to spot, and which measures around 200 meters wide by 400 meters long, has been labeled as “potentially hazardous” to Earth.
Astronomers have announced it could eventually crash onto our planet. The space rock traveled last week close to Earth, at a speed of 70,500km.
Also known as 2015 BN509, this asteroid will come around in the future, in another one of its orbits. Its images were captured on film by scientists at The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. It has already gone by Earth, sometimes passing nearer by than in other instances.
The asteroid’s peculiar peanut shape “comes from the fact that it is a contact binary where the two parts [of asteroids] could not successfully orbit each other and fell back together,” Dr Edgard Rivera-Valentín, a planetary scientist with the Universities Space Research Association, said. He studies data from The Arecibo Observatory, and adds that there are one in six asteroids with these characteristics.
“The data from Arecibo can be used by NASA to inform a planetary defence mission,” Rivera-Valentín comments. The air space agency has set up a department for this purpose, in order to eventually tackle a possible threat to Earth, that could come from near-Earth objects (NEOs).
Around 1,500 NEOs are identified every year, and approximately 90 per cent of these measure more than one kilometre long. The agency is proposing to build an infra-red space telescope to help with the location of more NEOs.
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