A small to average-sized asteroid will zoom past Earth on April Fool's Day at about 8 miles a second, Live Science has reported.
The news of an asteroid coming closer to Earth raises concerns about the potential damage it can cause, thanks to the fact that an entire species on the planet is known to have been wiped off due to an asteroid in the past. Even with the most-advanced technologies scanning our skies, we do not know of all objects that can potentially strike Earth someday.
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The asteroid scheduled to zoom past Earth was only discovered in 2007 and is about 850 feet in diameter. Dubbed 2007 FF1, the asteroid travels at speeds of up to 11 miles per second as it orbits around the sun. It is, therefore, one of 15,000 objects called Apollo-class asteroids.
How likely will 2007 FF1 hit the Earth?
According to the online database, SpaceReference, 2007 FF1 will make its closest approach to Earth in our lifetimes this April Fool's Day as it flies past our home planet at a distance of 4.6 million miles.
As the asteroid is larger than 140 meters and breaches the 4.6 million mark set out by astronomers, it is classified as "potentially hazardous." Following SpaceReferences prediction, the asteroid is expected to make its future fly-bys much farther away from this distance, going as far as 18 million miles. While these are massive distances, in astronomical terms, they are still relatively small and errors in calculation or interactions with other space objects can sway them away from these paths.
When was the last time the Earth was hit by an asteroid?
The answer to this important question is dependent on another question: What is your understanding of the Earth being hit by an asteroid?
If you are seeking an event that involved changes in the Earth's terrain due to an asteroid, you might have to go back a few million years. But if you are looking for any object that has entered the Earth's atmosphere, there are plenty of answers for this.