An asteroid about the size of a minivan will whip past Earth early Friday, closer than many satellites that are orbiting the planet.
The asteroid, known as 2023 BU, will fly about 2,200 miles above the earth in an orbit that mirrors the Earth’s path around the sun.
The space rock, which is about 11 feet across, was discovered only last weekend by an amateur astronomer in Crimea.
According to Davide Farnocchia, a navigation engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the asteroid poses no danger, and there is no expected impact with Earth.
“It’s not going to break up,” Dr. Farnocchia told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s going to zoom past Earth, say hello and move on.”
Scientists at NASA say they are confident 2023 BU will miss the planet, but its near pass will alter the asteroid’s path going forward. According to NASA, the gravitational pull of the Earth will elongate the asteroid’s orbit as it moves through the solar system.
“Before encountering Earth, the asteroid’s orbit around the sun was roughly circular, approximating Earth’s orbit, taking 359 days to complete its orbit about the sun,” the agency said in a statement.
“After its encounter, the asteroid’s orbit will be more elongated, moving it out to about halfway between Earth’s and Mars’ orbits at its farthest point from the sun. The asteroid will then complete one orbit every 425 days.”
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