Asteroid 2021 ND will pass this year on Friday, July 24, more than 5 million kilometers from Earth, and the less alarmist juicy headline that you will read in media around the world is the following NASA warns of a potentially dangerous asteroid that will pass near the Earth this Friday. Others speak directly openly of “danger of collision” and even illustrate their news with a photo of Bruce Willis, for that of “Armaggedon“.
But is it so bad? The truth is that NASA has not issued any kind of alert to this asteroid. 2021 ND is just one more on the list of “objects close to Earth” cataloged by the US space agency. It is not even the only one that will “get closer” to our planet during the next few days in this database it can be observed that the passage of a score of them is expected only until September.
Nor can it be said that it will pass “close” since it will cross the Solar System more than 5 million kilometers from Earth. And taking into account that the average distance between our planet and the Moon is 384,000 kilometers, this asteroid will pass about 15 times the distance between the Moon and Earth.So, can 2021 ND be said to be a “potentially dangerous” asteroid? Santiago Perez, professor at the UPV / EHU School of Engineering and member of the Planetary Sciences Research Group, has given us all the keys in the program on Radio Euskadi.
As he explained, this asteroid will pass at such a distance that the Earth’s gravitational field can affect the orbit of this body, so that it will no longer be governed mainly by the Sun, but there is an important contribution from the Earth’s gravity. Therefore, this object may see its orbit and trajectory altered in the future.
That is why this asteroid is classified as “potentially dangerous” because they are bodies whose orbits cut the orbit of the Earth so that in the future it would be possible that at some point we would coincide in the same place in the Solar System and that it would occur an impact. Of course, this does not mean that there is an expected impact, but that there could be one in the future. In no case in the passage of this Friday, nor during the existence of any person who is reading this article.
Perez Royo points out that because of this potential future danger it is very important to monitor, catalog, and keep an eye on all objects that pass through these dangerous regions of the Solar System. Also, it has been added that the asteroid 2021 ND has been documented since 1945. Since then it has made several close steps and for now, its orbit is safe. And it will continue to be in the future, he reassures us.