NASA, the United States space agency, had previously revealed that a giant asteroid measuring 4 kilometers in diameter is currently headed towards Earth, and it will make its close approach on April 29, 2020. Now, a team of astronomers at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has revealed that this space body is bringing its own face mask as it comes closer to Earth.
Asteroid wearing a mask
It should be noted that Earth is currently facing the chaos spread by the coronavirus outbreak, and governments all across the world have made masks mandatory for their citizens.
"The small-scale topographic features such as hills and ridges on one end of asteroid 1998 OR2 are fascinating scientifically. But since we are all thinking about COVID-19 these features make it look like 1998 OR2 remembered to wear a mask," said Anne Virkki, head of Planetary Radar at the Arecibo Observatory in a recent statement.
Will 1998 OR2 hit earth?
Space experts at NASA have classified 1998 OR2 as a potentially hazardous object (PHO). As per the United States space agency, any space body bigger than 140 meters (about 500 feet) and come within 5 million miles of Earth's orbit can be considered potentially dangerous.
However, 1998 OR2 will miss Earth by about 16.36 times the distance between Earth and the moon. At the time of its closest approach, this asteroid will be almost 3.9 million miles away from Earth.
What will happen if such an asteroid hits Earth?
Even though 1998 OR2 will not hit Earth, several space experts believe that chances of a deadly asteroid hit in the future could not be ruled out. As per the current analysis, asteroid 1998 OR2 is currently screeching across space at a speed of 31,320 kilometers per hour, and such an asteroid with a huge size hits the earth, it could unveil energy equivalent to the explosion of hundreds of thousands of nuclear bombs.