On Saturday, an asteroid numbered 2020 CW flew over Earth. The asteroid is only 3.3 feet (1 meter) in diameter and is the size of the oven, washing machine or other household appliances we use every day. If it collides head-on with Earth, it could burn up in the atmosphere, but it will fly over Earth at a staggering speed of 47,647 mph (76,680 kph) at an altitude of 10,225 miles (16,455 kilometers) above Earth.
In NASA’s Near-Earth Object Proximity Database, the 2020 CW ranks eighth in the ranking of the closest asteroids to Earth. Last year’s Halloween, there was a closer flyand, which is now second in the database. Near-Earth objects are comets and asteroids that are pushed into orbit by the gravitational pull of nearby planets, which can enter nearby areas of Earth, NASA said on its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) website.
Scientists are interested in comets and asteroids mainly because they are relatively unchanging remnants of the solar system’s formation about 4.6 billion years ago. The giant exoplanets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) are made up of billions of comets, and the remaining debris in the formation process is the comets we see today.
Similarly, today’s asteroids are debris left behind by the initial accumulation of inner planets, including Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Although the asteroid does not pose a threat to Earth, NASA experts warn that the chances of an asteroid hitting Earth are “100 percent” and will happen one day, as it did 65 million years ago when dinosaurs were wiped out.