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Three Asteroids Set To Fly Close To Earth This Weekend

Three Asteroids Set To Fly Close To Earth This Weekend

Three enormous space rocks are heading straight for Earth spelling the end of the human race and everyone you know and love. There is no escape, this is it, we've not been this buggered since Elijah Wood in Deep Impact, but unlike him you won't have Morgan Freeman's dulcet tones to calm your nerves when the end finally comes.

Ok, so that was a bit dramatic, the truth is that boffins at NASA are telling us about a trio of asteroids which are set to pass us this weekend.

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The first, named 2018 VS1, is predicted to be between 13 and 28 metres wide and will fly past the our planet at approximately 2.30pm on Saturday.

But experts at NASA say at its closest it will still be some 861,700 miles away from Earth - so we shouldn't be too worried.

This will be followed just 16 minutes later by 2018 VS1, another asteroid dubbed 2018 VR1 will whizz past. Measuring roughly the same size as the first it will be much further away, passing by at a distance of 3.12 million miles.

And just when you thought the excitement was over, four hours later a third little blighter going by the name of 2018 VX1 and measuring around 17 metres wide, will complete the trio.

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Again however, with an estimated trajectory of 237,037 miles away from our planet - almost the same distance away as the moon - people won't be running for cover.

Even though to the layman these distances are incomprehensible and may even seem ridiculous, experts at NASA say they still qualify as 'close approaches'.

While these distances may sound huge, NASA classes them as 'close'.

A spokesperson for the space agency said: "As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth.

Oumuamua asteroid was first spotted in Hawaii last year. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser
Oumuamua asteroid was first spotted in Hawaii last year. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

"Note that a 'close' passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometres."

This isn't the first time Earth has had a close encounter from the stars. Last year a mysterious cigar-shaped object that flew past Earth and researchers at Harvard University have now said it could have been an alien spacecraft sent to survey other galaxies.

When the object - known as Oumuamua - flew past the sun, astronomers rushed to find out more about it and reviewed data discovering that the object gained speed instead of slowing down.

Oumuamua was first spotted in Hawaii in October last year and is believed to measure 1,312ft (400m). It was moving at 59,030mph when it was first tracked by scientists.

Featured Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Topics: Science, uk news, Nasa, Technology, space

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]

 

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