The US-based space agency’s Earth Close Approach site has released some incredibly-detailed data about this asteroid. The most amazing of which is the highly-unusual distance with which 2020 TG6 will safely barrel past Earth today At its closest, the oddly-named asteroid will be a mere 0.00092 Astronomical Units (AU) – only 85,519 miles from our world.
And although this may still seem very far away to some, this really is an extraordinarily close approach when considering the vastness of the ever-expanding Universe.
To put this into context, the average distance between Earth and the Moon is 238,855 miles (384,400km).
However there is no danger at all of the mysterious cosmic debris colliding with our world.
And furthermore, even if the asteroid were to collide with our world, it would no result in any destruction.
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This is due to its particularly small size, with asteroid experts at NASA estimating it to be 31ft (9.5m) in diameter.
Such proportions mean 2020 TG6 would incinerate in the our thick atmosphere – or simply bounce off, depending on the space rock’s exact trajectory.
But were the 11,688mph (18.81kms) speeding space rock to burn up in our blue planet’s atmosphere, it would probably delight astronomers and photographers.
This is because such events are known to create explosions called fireballs or bolides, where an extraordinary streak would be seen flashing through the night sky.
Asteroid news: NASA estimates Ceres to be a mammoth 583 miles (940km) in diameter
Another fascinating fact about this asteroid, is just the sheer amount of data NASA is able to collect from such a small space rock.
Until until a decade or so ago, asteroid trackers could only make out such barrelling bodies when they were at a minimum of 30m across.
But with the ever-improving technology at the legendary space agency’s fingertips, NASA is now able to make-out surprisingly tiny asteroid even smaller than a car.
In fact, the smallest asteroid ever studied by NASA was a mere 6ft-wide (2m) space rock.
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Dubbed 2015 TC25, this pocket-sized asteroid was spotted when it made a close flyby of Earth in October 2015.
But at the other end to the scale, asteroids can be as unimaginably huge as the monstrous Ceres, which NASA estimates to be a mammoth 583 miles (940km) in diameter.
Named for the Roman goddess of corn and harvests, this behemoth is actually so huge it is technically categorised by NASA as a dwarf planet.
Fortunately, there absolutely no indication Ceres – or any other dangerous asteroids – are on a collision course anytime in the foreseeable future.
Asteroid news: 2020 TG6 will be a mere 0.00092 Astronomical Units (AU) – only 85,519 miles from our world
The news of today’s near-Earth approach neatly coincides with news NASA’s ambitious OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample will occur early next week.
The unmanned OSIRIS-REx is currently closely orbiting Asteroid Bennu 200 million miles distant from Earth.
Asteroid Bennu is of particular fascination to space scientists because it contains material from the early solar system, in addition to molecular precursors to life.
The asteroid is estimated to be approximately as tall as the Empire State Building and this monster could potentially threaten our planet late in 2021, with NASA calculating there is a 1‐in‐2,700 chance of it impacting us.