NASA announced that the 1998 OR2 asteroid would be within a close distance of Earth on April 29. The asteroid is classified as a near-Earth object and is one of many space rocks hurling around in our solar system. While the space agency has explained the asteroid is not expected to impact the planet, Times columnist Matthew Parris noted there were similarities between asteroid and pandemic preparedness.
While on Sky News, Mr Parris explained that if a large asteroid was set to hit the Earth, questions would then be asked why we weren’t prepared.
He likened this to how countries have dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Paris argued the globe had to find a perfect balance of adequate preparation for disastrous events and an understanding of their probability.
Mr Parris said: “Not a very near miss, the asteroid is coming within a few million miles of us.
“If a big asteroid did hit us, there would be columns saying how foolish we all were.
“These things can happen, it has happened and we should prepare for it.”
Mr Parris also discussed the issue of investing everything into preventative measures against an unknown threat.
He continued: “The fact is once something has happened, one becomes acutely aware of the possibility that it might have happened in the past.
He said: “I think the point is that we need to rebalance this balance.
“These epidemics can really happen, this one has happened and we need to learn the lessons.”
At its closest, NASA said Asteroid OR2 would come within 3.9 million miles (6.29 million km) of our planet.
Asteroids that make close approaches to Earth of less than 0.05 astronomical units (au) are tracked by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) and can be viewed on their website.
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SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, perched atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, takes off from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station. The May 30 launch was the first US rocket launch with a crew since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011 and SpaceX’s first crewed mission ever. The mission is called Demo-2 since its primary purpose is to test out SpaceX’s spacecraft.
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A huge near-Earth asteroid will pass our planet tonight at a safe distance of 3.2 million miles, according to NASA.
After a spate of doom-laden headlines the space agency felt the need yesterday to update a previous post about near-Earth asteroids with the following note:
“Asteroid 2002 NN4 will safely pass by the Earth on June 6 at a distance of approximately 3.2 million miles (5.1 million kilometers), about 13 times further away from the Earth than the Moon is. There is no danger the asteroid will hit the Earth.”
Asteroid 2002 NN4’s closest approach to Earth will be at 11:20 p.m. EDT. on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
NASA also tweeted the same advice:
NASA Asteroid Watch then tweeted this image of the asteroid’s trajectory:
How big is Asteroid 2002 NN4?
Asteroid 2002 NN4 is huge. Measuring between 820 feet and 1,870 feet (250 meters to 570 meters) according to Space.com. New York City’s Empire State Building is 443.2 meters tall, including its antenna.
That’s over a dozen times bigger than the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That was the biggest meteor for over a century.
Would asteroid 2002 NN4 be dangerous if it hit Earth?
Yes—asteroid 2002 NN4 is city-killer size, but it’s not going to cause any harm to anyone.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.
Crew Dragon with two NASA astronauts docks to ISS – TASS
NEW YORK, May 31. /TASS/. The Crew Dragon spacecraft with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board has successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS), as follows from a NASA broadcast on Sunday.
The spacecraft began approaching the ISS about two hours before docking than was carried out 10:16 ahead of the schedule. The Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched using the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 22.22 pm Moscow time on May 30 from the Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Crew Dragon is a configuration of the cargo spacecraft Dragon, which had already delivered cargoes to the ISS. A Falcon-9 rocket put the cargo vehicle in space on March 2. Its docking with the ISS was carried out automatically the next day.
NASA stopped crewed flights in 2011 after the Space Shuttle program came to an end. From that moment on all astronauts were delivered to the ISS and back by Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. Originally the Untied States was to start using commercial spacecraft for crewed missions in 2017.
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