Good Morning Britain Meteorologist Laura Tobin Tells Viewers ‘Not To Panic’ As Asteroid Passes By Earth
An asteroid is hurtling towards Earth – but don’t worry, Good Morning Britain’s Laura Tobin said we’re safe.
As existentially horrifying as it is to ponder, several hunks of space rock cruise past our planet everyday, with us mere mortals blissfully unaware of the extinction-level asteroids flying past.
Today is no different. If you check out NASA’s NEO Earth Close Approaches database, you’ll see an asteroid known as FO32 on its way to us; it’s big, it’s mean and it’s coming fast.
The morning show’s resident meteorologist assured viewers the asteroid ‘isn’t going to hit us’, but spoke of just how close it could get.
Tobin explained, ‘Now if you hear about an asteroid then don’t worry, it is not going to hit us but it is going to get close. It will pass between us and the moon, thousands of miles from the Earth, a seventh of the distance between us and the moon.’
She added, ‘Even if it did enter our atmosphere, just a small fragment would hit earth as the majority of it would burn up.’
Now this isn’t just any old asteroid. Most we read about range from a few metres wide to some particularly bigger ones at around 70-100m. Not FO32 – quite simply, it’s an absolute unit. Its diameter is believed to be anywhere between 500-900m, at which point it’d be larger than the tallest building in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
However, even the official NASA Asteroid Watch Twitter wants to keep the world at ease. ‘You may have seen headlines about an #asteroid that will safely fly by Earth on March 21. While this asteroid, known as 2001 FO32, is large, it will safely zip past Earth at a distance of 1.3 million miles – five times further away than the Moon – and poses no risk of hitting Earth.’
The speed at which it’s travelling is incredible, zooming through outer space at more than 34km per second. That means it could fly from San Francisco to New York in just two minutes.
It added, ‘#PlanetaryDefense experts continue to survey the skies to find & track asteroids as early as possible, and are even working on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), a technique that could one day be used to deflect a hazardous asteroid off a collision course with our planet.’
Two asteroids are actually expected to pass Earth today: one known as DT, between 25-75m wide; and another known as EW3, only 13-29m in diameter.
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CreditsNASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory