No Worries As Asteroid Near Earth Flies By

The world survived another fairly large asteroid near Earth today, as Asteroid 1999 FN53 made its travel past our planet about 7:25 am EST. While its travel sparked some worries and concerns via Internet chatter that it could hit the Earth, NASA scientists weren’t concerned because they have been studying this asteroid for 16 years and knew it would not hit our planet.

This is the closest the asteroid will pass near Earth until 2034, but it really wasn’t that close. It was making a flight past the Earth at two-tenths the orbital distance of the planet Neptune and at its closest point the asteroid was at nearly seven percent of the space between our Sun and Earth. In other words, the Asteroid FN53 was about 10-million kilometers away from the Earth, so saying it was an asteroid near Earth in its travel is being very subjective.

NASA Satellite Observed Asteroid Near Earth

NASA has been watching Asteroid 1999 FN53 and it was never considered a threat or an asteroid near Earth to worry about because in order to meet that category NASA requires an asteroid near Earth to be on a travel course less than 7.6-million kilometers from our planet. Instead, this asteroid was more than 10-million kilometers from the Earth when it traveled past it this morning.

However, NASA is still studying Asteroid 1999 FN53 via the NEOWISE satellite, which has been watching it since the middle of April. In doing so, they determined that it has a diameter of about 900 meters. They also used instruments from Puerto Rico’s Arecibo radio telescope and Goldstone, California’s radio-dish satellite network to get data on the asteroid.

Data Assists in Planetary Protection of the Earth

The data was taken in order to assist scientists in understanding better about things like an asteroid near Earth, such as their size, density, makeup, rotation, and more. Information such as this can help in forming a possible planetary defense against an asteroid near Earth. If an asteroid were to ever impact Earth, depending on its size and speed, it could be powerful enough to destroy a major city and likely millions of people, such as a massive asteroid did when it theoretically killed off the dinosaurs six-million years ago.

However, there were never any real worries about Asteroid 1999 FN83 making any kind of problems for Earth like that, as it was not close enough to be considered a threat by NASA standards. In fact, it wasn’t considered an asteroid near Earth by because it was more than 26 times the distance from Earth as our Moon.