Statue of Liberty-sized condominium rock amongst FIVE headed in the direction of Earth warns NASA

In its most original bulletin, NASA has warned of 5 Shut to-Earth Objects headed in the direction of our planet this week, one of which is higher than the Statue of Liberty. In the period in-between, the company is gearing up for its asteroid-sampling mission.

It’ll be a ferocious finale to September, as five condominium rocks measuring between 11 meters and 110 meters in diameter are due in only three days. 

Kicking things off on Monday stands out as the 11-meter, phone pole-sized 2020 SY4, which could reach within 724,000km of Earth at a blistering droop of 16.12km/s (58,032kph, or 21 instances as like a flash as a bullet (2,736kph). 

On Tuesday, the behemoth 2020 PM7, which has a diameter of 110 meters, will shoot past at a true distance of 2.8 million km. The spacious rock is a a lot like 30 Volkswagen Beetles cease-to-cease, or about one-and-one-fifth instances as enormous because the Statue of Liberty.

To shut the portray, on September 30, three condominium rocks will waft by our planetary backyard: 

2020 SV5, measuring 20m in diameter (a miniature over the measurement of a conventional bowling alley), will shoot past at a distance of 1.2 million km; 2020 SQ, measuring 12m (that’s eight Danny DeVitos) will swerve us at a distance of 2.1 million km; and, last nonetheless not least, 2020 SO2, measuring 37m (half of the wingspan of a 747) will miss us by 6.9 million km.  

In the period in-between, NASA boffins are busy making ready for the company’s first-ever asteroid-sampling mission, following within the footsteps of Eastern condominium company JAXA’s success on board the asteroid Ryugu. 

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On October 20, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe will touch down on the 1,640toes-broad (500 meter) condominium rock Bennu, having hovered in orbit for the past two years. 

The head zone is a runt crater dubbed Nightingale, with the probe aiming to hit a 26toes-broad (8 meter) boulder-free target zone from which to have interaction samples. 

“This pickle is simply appropriate the width of some parking areas and is surrounded by sizable, boulder-luxuriate in buildings the measurement of runt buildings,” acknowledged Mike Moreau, OSIRIS-REx deputy venture manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. 

It’ll be a tough maneuver, as there’s an 18-minute extend in indicators reaching the rock from Earth. The OSIRIS-REx probe will touch down for honest appropriate a couple of seconds with its 11toes-long (3.4 meter) robotic arm, blasting the asteroid’s surface with nitrogen gas and gathering the particles with a sampling instrument the team contain likened to a automobile’s air filter. 

They are aiming to salvage roughly 2oz (60g) of condominium filth from the rock. All going properly,  OSIRIS-REx will depart Bennu in March 2021 and is expected to land within the Utah wilderness a whereas on September 24, 2023.

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