Asteroid size of 40 football fields to scoot by Earth in September

Brace for a close encounter! Three-mile asteroid to whizz past Earth on September 1

The probe by NASA and the European Space Agency is now being created to deflect potentially-disastrous objects from smashing into Earth.

Asteroids are space rocks and an Australian scientist has discovered these rocks in 1981.

On September 1, an asteroid nearly three miles wide will safely fly by Earth.

Florence asteroid with a diameter of 4.4 km, will fly at a distance of seven million kilometres from the planet (18 of the distance from the earth to the moon). NASA is planning on conducting radar studies of Florence using the Goldstone Solar System Radar in California, and the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Arecibo Observatory in Peurto Rico.

Tipped to be one of the largest asteroids to ever fly by Earth, the wandering space rock last took a similar path back in 1890.

According to NASA, it will even be visible to small telescopes in late August and early September.

Asteroid Florence, named after 19th-century English nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, is on track to pass at a distance of 4.4 million miles (7 million km).

"While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller", said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Radar systems have been set up to capture new imagery that will reveal its actual size, as well as details of the surface as small as 30 feet.

The team will also be able to determine if Florence is part of a binary system, meaning it has a companion asteroid.

Observations will begin on 29 August and will continue to 8 September.

"Sooner or later we will get. a minor or major impact", Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, said, adding that it may not happen in our lifetime, but the risk that out plant will get hit one day is very high.

Within Earth's orbit, there are literally thousands of what are known as Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), more than fourteen thousands of which are asteroids that periodically pass close to Earth. Researchers have determined there is no possibility for the asteroid to collide with our planet.



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