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This Friday, the Earth will receive once again the visit to the asteroid 2020ND . If well just be discovered just a few weeks ago for astronomers, in reality, this space rock maintains an orbit around the Sun about our planet and Mars from time to time. According to the calculations of scientists, 2020ND we have been approached earlier in 1929, in 1932, 1945, 1960, 1990, and the last time, in 2005. And it will not be the last time that we visit, as their trajectory indicates that they will do in 3035.

this time, however, it will be time for that 2020ND, which measures aproximadament e 160 meters long , we move closer. Specifically, about 5.5 million miles , which does not pose any risk to us. Even so, NASA has cataloged “ potentially dangerous ” (PHA), a qualification that receive all Object Close to the Earth (NEO, for its acronym in English) that pass at a distance of less than 0.05 astronomical units (an AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun). 2020ND will about 0.03 AU , according to NASA.

The smaller they are, the more danger

The asteroids are rocks that were left floating in space after the formation of the Solar System . There are of all sizes: large, medium and small, and every day the space agencies and astronomical observatories are more and more floating around. But although it might seem otherwise, the rocks have more danger the more small they are , since their size prevents their vision if they are too far away, and you need not be too large to inflict damage: the meteor that exploded over the sky of the locality russia’s Chelyabinsk and caused more than 1,000 casualties and damage in hundreds of homes so was only 19 meters in diameter.

it Is estimated that only they have controlled to 0.05% of the NEO between 30 and 100 meters in length , while who only know the 0.01% of the rocks of less than 30 meters . On pages such as the one in the Middle JPL of the NASA, or in the portal of NEOs of THAT you can check in real time the “threats” of these objects, and the probability that its orbit coincides with our step into the space. And, for the moment, the warnings are a danger relatively low, so that the calm should reign.

Plans for if they get more than what is due

Even so, humanity already has several plans in mind to be prepared in the unlikely event that an asteroid will impact against us. For example, the missions HERA and DART, the first project of planetary defense , are already in very advanced stages, and include other ideas, such as the impactor kinetic or the plan tractor, to divert the orbit of one of these rocks in space. Taking into account what happened to the Earth over 65 million years and the disappearance of the dinosaurs… it is better to prevent than to cure.