An asteroid the size of an RV motor home will narrowly miss striking Earth on June 27, according to the U.S. space agency NASA.
The relatively small asteroid, named 2011 MD, will pass within 12,300 kilometers (7,600 miles) of Earth’ surface over the south Pacific ocean at its closest point at around 1:00 P.M. Eastern on June 27, the Washington Post reports. Asteroid 2011 MD is a new discovery, made on June 22 by the twin robotic telescopes of LINEAR in New Mexico.
NASA says that the asteroid 2011 MD poses no danger to Earth. But it will pass close enough to have its path in space strongly bent by the tug of Earth’s gravity. In general, thousands of pieces of small space debris like asteroid 2011 MD vaporize harmlessly in Earth’s atmosphere, some lighting the night sky as meteors. Astronomer Neil Tyson remarked on Twitter about asteroid 2011 MD, “Not to worry – any more than usual. Close encounters happen all the time. We’ve gotten better at detecting them.”
In his years with EarthSky, Jorge Salazar conducted thousands of in-depth interviews with scientists. He knows a lot about as diverse as nanotechnology, ecosystem-based management, climate change, global health, international environmental treaties, astrophysics and cosmology, and environmental security. Jorge currently works as a Technical Writer/Editor for the Texas Advanced Computing Center, which designs and deploys powerful advanced computing technologies and innovative software solutions for scientific researchers.