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The “City Killer” asteroid will pass between Earth and the Moon over the weekend

(CNN) – When hearing the words “city killer” and “asteroid” in the same sentence, it’s okay to think that something bad could happen.

But fear not. Although an asteroid with the potential to cause significant damage will approach our planet in a somewhat unusual way, it will pass harmlessly between the orbits of the Earth and the Moon.

Saturday night, Asteroid 2023 DZ2 It will fly at a distance of 170,000 km (105,633 miles). The Moon, by comparison, is about 384,400 kilometers (238,855 miles) from Earth.

The asteroid known as the “city killer” – which is between 40 and 100 meters (131 to 328 feet) in size – would do no such thing. But experts say its flight is still pretty cool.

“The unusual thing about this object is that it is very rare for an object of this size to pass so close to Earth. This happens about once every 10 years,” Richard Moesel, head of the Planetary Defense Office at the European Space Agency, told CNN on Friday.

“But this is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to get some good close-up measurements on a relatively large object that is relatively easy to measure in this respect,” he said.

Near-Earth objects are asteroids and comets with orbits that place them within 195 million kilometers (120 million miles) of the Sun, meaning they can “orbit around Earth’s orbit”, According to NASA.

Moesel added that experts will illuminate asteroid 2023 DZ2 with radar and use it to obtain more accurate measurements of the object.

“City Killer”

Moissl said the phrase “city killer” is used by experts in reference to the collision of two known asteroids.

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during the event Tunguska in 1908An asteroid “sent a shock wave and flattened 2,000 square kilometers of forests” in Siberia, Moysel said. Also, about 50,000 years ago, an iron asteroid slammed into what is now Arizona, between Flagstaff and Winslow on the Colorado Plateau, leaving a crater 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) wide and about 180 meters (600 feet) deep.

When space rocks enter Earth’s orbit and strike Earth, “if they happen in unpopulated areas, then… [no] “It’s a huge concern,” Moesel said.

“If we find a location where we see this is going to hit the ground, the first step is to figure out where it’s going to hit the ground because if it’s in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of the desert, it’s not a big deal. All we need to do is make sure there is no air traffic or personnel in the area.” .

“That’s where [término] “City killer”. If such an object fell directly on a city, that would be a problem: the entire city would likely be badly damaged and would have to be evacuated.

“City killer is a good slogan. It’s not a bad description. That’s why we didn’t throw it all out the window. Because it says in two words: This is dangerous on the level of being able to destroy a city.”

However, that’s not what’s going on with the 2023 DZ2. He said that the asteroid, which is in orbit around the sun, meaning that it is in an orbit and ellipse around the sun, “will continue to revolve around the sun.”

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Moesel said there are currently more than 1,450 NEOs on the “risk list,” and they are added whenever there is “the slightest possibility of their impact.” [la Tierra] in the next hundred years.”

“These things are generally a little noticed. The procedures are refined,” he explained.