Public health officials are advising to keep a distance of 6 feet (about 2 meters) from others during the new coronavirus pandemic to avoid potential risks,media CNET reported. Astronomers also have a standard distance for an asteroid considered “potentially dangerous.” On Sunday, a space rock the size of a football field flew over The Earth at close range, 1/50 of the standard distance threshold.
Although the asteroid, known as 2020 FL2, will never hit Earth. It “crossed the globe” on Sunday, with a close proximity of 90,000 miles (145,000 kilometers).
To some extent, NASA’s Solar and Solar Sphere Observatory (SOHO) is about 932,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth and 239,000 miles (384,000 kilometers) from the moon, with many large satellites orbiting at an altitude of 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers). The threshold for large asteroids to be close enough to obtain a “potentially dangerous” label and be monitored by astronomers is about 4.5 million miles (7.2 million kilometers).
So the close-up flyby of 2020 FL2 is the equivalent of tying a pile of boats to a spring break party when a group of people call for a social evacuation to stop the spread of the pandemic. The difference is that giant asteroids flying over Earth at speeds of 45,000 mph (72,420 kph) do not actually pose a threat to anyone.
The 2020 FL2 is much larger than most asteroids passing through lunar orbit, with a diameter of between 49 and 112 feet (15-34 meters). Usually, a near space rock is more like the size of a household appliance or a small vehicle, and if it hits Earth, it is likely to burn in our atmosphere. But the asteroid was about the size of an asteroid that was not discovered until it exploded over Russia in 2013 and blew up thousands of windows.