258 UEFA Euro trophy-sized asteroid to pass Earth by flyby – NASA

A recently discovered massive asteroid the size of 258 European Championship (Euro) trophies will pass Earth on Saturday, according to NASA’s asteroid tracker.

The asteroid in question is 2024 MK, as pointed out by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The asteroid is particularly notable not only for its size, but also for the extremely close distance at which it will pass Earth.

Are you coming home? How big is the asteroid that passes Earth?

Asteroid 2024 MK has an estimated diameter ranging from 120 meters to 260 meters, according to NASA JPL data. However, estimates provided by NASA’s Asteroid Eyes tool give it a more specific diameter of 154.9 meters.

So let’s give it a simpler measurement, albeit more for our international audience: the trophy used for the Euro.

Henri Delaunay Trophy overview. (credit: Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea via REUTERS)

More formally known as the UEFA European Football Championship or the European Championship, this competition sees the national teams of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) compete against each other for the glory of winning the Henri Delaunay Trophy.

The Euros are among the most watched football tournaments, second only to the FIFA World Cup. As such, it is only fitting that such a major tournament comes with a major trophy.

The current iteration of the trophy is made of sterling silver and stands an impressive 60 centimeters tall.

With that in mind, asteroid 2024 MK is about the size of 258 Euro trophies stacked on top of each other.

It’s a goal! Will asteroid 2024 MK hit Earth?

Asteroids pass the Earth almost every day, but in 2024, MK made headlines around the world when it was revealed that not only was it as big as it was, but that it would come so incredibly close to Earth.

NASA estimates that the asteroid’s orbital path brings it just over 295,000 kilometers from Earth. That’s much closer than normal, especially for such a large asteroid.

By comparison, the Moon is an average of 387,000 kilometers from Earth, so this will be even closer.

To put it in another perspective, according to UEFA guidelines, a football field should be about 105 meters long. So asteroid 2024 MK will pass Earth at a distance of 2.8 million football fields.

Pass or shoot? How much damage would an impact from asteroid 2024 MK cause to Earth?

An asteroid impact could be devastating to Earth, and with a magnitude of 2024 MK, it could be catastrophic.

Experts have long noted that asteroids over 140 meters in diameter can have as much destructive energy as thousands of nuclear bombs. At its size, the 2024 MK could have similar cataclysmic power.

However, most asteroids that hit Earth aren’t that bad. In 2023, an asteroid the size of two NFL Super Bowl trophies struck near France and caused no damage. This is because only the largest will survive the journey through the atmosphere and be able to cause any damage at all.

Where is the defense? Can we stop an asteroid impact?

In soccer, the field is full of defenders and a goalkeeper whose job it is to stop someone from scoring a goal.

But can they stop an asteroid impact? Of course not, but scientists working on planetary defense are trying.

The most promising method so far appeared on NASA’s Dual Asteroid Redirect (DART) Mission. He proved he could deflect an asteroid by ramming a spacecraft into it, pushing its orbital path ever lower.

But that doesn’t mean we would handle it well in practice. A recent simulated asteroid impact scenario by NASA and its partner organizations found major gaps in the global response system, even if we had 14 years to prepare.

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Image Source : www.jpost.com

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