The asteroid will safely miss Earth by just 480 000 km, which is further away from Earth than the Moon, but which is a close pass on a cosmic scale. It is travelling at about 35 km/s with respect to Earth – higher than the typical encounter speed of near-Earth asteroids.
“The fact that such a large near-Earth object (NEO), capable of doing significant damage if it were to strike our planet, was discovered only 21 days before closest approach demonstrates the necessity for keeping daily watch of the night sky,” says Detlef Koschny, in ESA’s Space Situational Awareness office.
There is no chance that the asteroid will hit our planet, neither now nor in the next 100 years at least, and it is not included in ESA’s official NEO Risk List.
Very little known
Almost nothing is known about the physical characteristics of the asteroid, aside what can be inferred from observations to date.
“The diameter of about 400 m has a large uncertainty, as is usual in the case of …