The earth was set to have a close incounter with a giant asteroid, its size the length of 20 soccer fields on Oct 10. Object 2000 FL10, better known as asteroid 86666, charging through space at 16.3 km/s will bullet past 4 million miles from the Earth, NASA has confirmed.
The object is estimated to be up to 2.6 km wide. Its Close Approach (CA) Distance is about 1/8th the average distance between Earth and Mars, 33.9 million miles, making it one of the closest asteroid flybys in 2015. CA is described as the distance between the respective centres of earth and the asteroid.
Asteroid 86666 would have catastrophic effects if it came into contact with the earth. It would wreak havoc on coastal communities by creating tsunami waves, several storeys high. It would also cause permanent damage to the ozone layer, dealing a permanent blow to our planet’s already deteriorating climate.
“In response to Qs, asteroid 86666 (2000 FL 10) will safely pass Earth Oct 10 by over 15 million mi/25 million km. It poses zero threat,” tweeted @AsteroidWatch, the official Twitter handle of NASA JPL’s Near-Earth Object Office. It responded to questions in the wake of a rumoured prediction of a doomsday asteroid in September.
This has been the next big NASA announcement after a slew of important ones in the past few weeks. Earlier in September, NASA scientists surprised the world with their announcement that Mars has liquid water.