Football fans won’t have to be in Minneapolis to witness Super Bowl LII’s pregame fireworks show.
That’s because a “potentially hazardous” asteroid will pass Earth roughly two hours before the New England Patriots square off against the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 4, NASA recently announced. The asteroid, named “2002 AJ129,” is somewhere between 0.3 and 0.75 miles across and will be approximately 2.6 million miles from our planet when it flies by.
But don’t bother stocking those doomsday cellars, Earthlings.
“We have been tracking this asteroid for over 14 years and know its orbit very accurately,” NASA’s Paul Chodas said in a statement. “Our calculations indicate that asteroid 2002 AJ129 has no chance — zero — of colliding with Earth on Feb. 4 or any time over the next 100 years.”
Now, 2.6 million miles sounds far away — probably because it is — but it’s not that far in the grand scheme of things.
Consider this: The Earth is 238,900 miles from the moon. We’re not mathematicians, but quick number crunching reveals the asteroid, at its nearest point, will be about 10 times as far from earth as the moon (currently) is. That’s definitely much farther than the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was, but it’s still close enough to warrant our attention.
Let’s just hope NASA has Bruce Willis and his band of mining misfits on speed dial.
Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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