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Astronomers have reported an asteroid the size of two Statues of Liberty approaching Earth

Asteroid 441987 (2010 NY65), twice the size of the Statue of Liberty (187 meters), which NASA called “potentially dangerous”, will fly past Earth in the coming weeks. It is moving at a speed of 13.4 kilometers per second, or more than 48,000 kilometers per hour, according to the Daily Express.

The asteroid will reach its point of maximum approach to Earth on June 25. At this point, it will be from the Earth at a distance of 15 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. At the same time, NASA experts consider it close enough to call it a near-Earth object and “potentially dangerous”.

Although the “dangerous” status does not guarantee collisions, there are factors that can affect the asteroid's path.

Sometimes the orbital trajectories of asteroids are affected by the gravitational attraction of the planets, which leads to a change in their trajectories. Scientists believe that random asteroids or fragments from earlier collisions of bodies crashed into the Earth in the past, playing an important role in the evolution of our planet.

A force known as the Yarkovsky effect can also cause an asteroid to veer off course. The effect occurs when space rock is heated under direct sunlight and cooled to release radiation from the surface. “This radiation exerts a force on the asteroid, acting as a kind of mini-engine that can slowly change the direction of the asteroid over time,” explained NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The experts added that near-Earth objects are comets and asteroids pushed by the gravitational pull of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to reach the near-Earth neighborhood. The scientific interest in comets and asteroids is largely due to their status as relatively unchanged debris leftover during the formation of the Solar System about 4.6 billion years ago.

While the giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) were formed from a cluster of billions of comets, and the remaining pieces and fragments from this process are the comets that we see today. Asteroids are pieces and fragments left over from the original agglomeration (the formation by sintering of large porous pieces of fine ore or pulverized materials) of planets such as Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

In April, NASA experts said that they will prepare for the collision of a conditional asteroid with the Earth. Large-scale research will be conducted by scientists of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is part of NASA. The exercise will allow specialists of the national administration and relevant organizations in other countries to develop a plan that will help avoid collisions with celestial bodies or minimize damage from such incidents.

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