Asteroid 2013 TX68 approaches the Earth
After passing the Earth at a distance of 2 million km, in 2013, Asteroid 2013 TX68 is back this week.
The Asteroid is quite big: the size is estimated to be about 30 m in diameter and it is travelling at a speed of 55.166 km/h.
It will pass by the Earth between the 5th and the 9th of March. At this stage the likeliest date is around the early morning of March 8 (Central European Time).
Scientists at NASA’s centre for NEO studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, have determined that the asteroid will fly past the Earth as far out as 17 million km or as close as 30.000 km- this is inside the Geostationary Ring which houses our Meteosat satellites at 36,000km. However, the latest calculations show the most probable distance will be of 5 million km away from Earth, so any collision is very unlikely.
Its trajectory is closely monitored but the variation between estimated km is due to the fact that they started to track it only a short time after discovery in October 2013.
This flyby will allow scientists to get more data and to determine with a closer precision its orbit around the sun. This will then be useful to predict when the asteroid will come around next.
The next flyby is foreseen for 18 September 2056.
Image credits: NASA