When you’re out Trick or Treating and scaring little kids to tears next weekend, a 1,300-foot asteroid will be zooming past Earth. And it’ll be relatively close, too. According to NASA scientists, it’ll hurtle past just 1.3 times the average distance between Earth and the Moon, which is only about 300,000 miles away. This is expected to be the closest encounter with such a large object for at least the next decade
The scary thing is we’re just now hearing about 2015 TB145 (aka Halloween Asteroid), which scientists say snuck up on us—our first glimpse of the asteroid didn’t happen until Oct. 10. But luckily this isn’t the apocalypse. Scientists say it’ll safely pass us by, and those eating candy in their homes next Saturday will be none the wiser.
“If it were headed directly for Earth, that would have been too late to do anything about it,” said NASA’s Paul Chodas, who heads the agency’s Near Earth Object program. “An asteroid of this size is really difficult to deflect with only 20 days of warning.”
That’s not exactly comforting, especially coming from the man who is in charge of detecting these things.
The next big space rock to whiz past Earth won’t happen until 2027, when a 2,600-foot rock will come within 1 Earth-moon distance, or about 238,000 miles. In the context of space, that’s a pretty close shave, but at least we have a heads up.
NASA plans on studying the Halloween Asteroid, which is hurtling through space at about 22 miles per second, when it flies by next weekend in an effort to learn more about the rock’s size, shape, and other features.
Who is going to be the first one to dress up as Halloween Asteroid?