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An Asteroid will Fly Past Earth Today and NASA Considers It 'Potentially Hazardous'

File image of an artist's illustration of asteroids approaching Earth. (Image: Getty Images)

File image of an artist's illustration of asteroids approaching Earth. (Image: Getty Images)

The asteroid has been described by NASA as a Near-Earth Object (NEO) and Potentially Hazardous Asteroid, warning that it will be travelling at a speed of 48,000 kilometres/hour.

The universe is filled with several terrestrial objects such as asteroids, comets and meteors. Most of these revolve freely in the universe, with a few passing close to planets once in a while.

On July 24, a huge asteroid, dubbed as Asteroid 2020 ND, is all set to fly near Earth’s surface. This asteroid has been described by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a Near-Earth Object (NEO) and Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA), warning that it will be travelling at a speed of 48,000 kilometres per hour.

This is not the first time when this huge asteroid will be passing the Earth. With an estimated diameter of 160 meters or 520 feet, the asteroid has safely passed the Earth five times in the past and will cause no harm even on this visit.

Now, if you are wondering about why this was termed PHA despite causing no harm, you can consider NASA’s definition, which terms "Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth. Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of 0.05 au or less are considered PHAs."

The Asteroid 2020 ND made its first approach towards the Earth on July 17, 1945. After today, the asteroid will cross the Earth in future in 2035, 2074, and then 2145.