You might want to mark your calender on March 21, 2021 because at around 11:03 a.m. ET a gigantic asteroid, 231937 (2001 FO32), is going to go skimming by Earth at a speed of about 21 miles per second.
Why, yes, that is very fast.
In fact, not only is Asteroid 2001 FO32 the largest space rock we anticipate seeing up close in 2021, it’s also one of the fastest. BONUS!
The “potentially hazardous” (according to NASA) Apollo class asteroid is somewhere between 0.47 of a mile across to 1.07 miles across in diameter and will be cruising by at a whopping 76,980 miles per hour at just 5.3 lunar distances away from our planet. One lunar distance is about 238,900 miles, or the distance between Earth and the moon.
If it were to somehow hit Earth that would be all she wrote for a good portion of the human race.
Asteroid 2001 FO32 is larger than 97% of recorded asteroids, and by comparison, Earth travels around the sun at about 18 miles per second, so 2001 FO32 is going to be movin’.
Check out the giant space rock’s orbit vs. Earth’s, culminating on March 21, 2021.
According to EarthSky.org…
A fascinating aspect of asteroids is that observers using backyard telescopes can spot them as apparently slow-moving “stars.” It typically takes at least 5 to 10 minutes for backyard telescope users to detect a space rock’s motion in front of its starfield. But asteroid 2001 FO32 will be sweeping past Earth at such a fast pace that, when it’s closest, observers using 8″ or larger telescopes might be able to detect its motion – its drift in front of the stars – in real time.
Oh, by the way, NASA says Asteroid 2001 FO32 poses no risk of impact. But, really, what else would they say?
Eh, I’m sure everything will be fine.