Thank the Universe and Gods; we are safe for now from asteroid 1999 FN53 and its likes. Since a fortnight there was news of an asteroid named 1999 FN53 – sized about an eighth of Mount Everest and 1.6 kilometres across, hurtling towards earth at a speed of 14 kilometres per second that is over 50, 000 kilometres per hour! NASA discovered this asteroid in March 1999 and hence its name 1999 FN53. This is the largest object currently being tracked on NASA’s Near Earth Object Radar. It was predicted from the beginning that it would pass terrifyingly close to earth - on 14th May, that is last Thursday. And fortunately it behaved that way, it moved away from earth at a distance of 9.6 million kilometres, which is not a great distance astronomically. But all through the approach of the asteroid there was the fear of a collision with earth in case of even the slightest deviation from its projected path. A fraction of a degree’s deviation from a great distance would have offset the 9.6 million kilometres distance from earth, causing unimaginable destruction to earth. Astronomers were worried due to this uncertainty. A collision would be catastrophic, triggering an explosion similar to millions of megatons of TNT, giving rise to earthquakes, mass destruction and global extinction of most living creatures and 1.5 billion people.
This happening was not widely covered by news sources locally, so many have not heard of this danger and lived in peace. When I came to know about it over internet I got worried. The recent series of earthquakes in Nepal and India added to this asteroid fear. It was a relief to hear that it moved away from earth and its next course closest to earth would be after 119 years and that too would not affect our planet in any way.
Hope our planet remains safe forever from asteroids, meteorites and comets. And in case there is still a threat, I am sure the scientists of our world would soon find means and methods to defend our planet from these monsters.
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