Asteroid 2021 VR with a diameter nearly equal to the height of the Great Pyramid of Giza will “visit” Earth on the full moon this month.
2021 VR, a 120-meter-diameter asteroid, will fly close to Earth on November 19, the same day of the full moon. This asteroid moves at a speed of about 48,280 km / h, nearly 15 times the speed of bullets fired from a rifle. It will return to visit Earth on March 13, 2022.
Accompanying 2021 VR is a smaller asteroid named 2021 VJ11. It has a diameter of 41 meters, more than half the wingspan of a Boeing 747. On November 20, another much larger asteroid will also pass close to Earth. It is asteroid 2016 JG12 with a diameter of 190 m.
2021 VR will fly by about 6 million km from Earth. The smallest asteroid in the trio, 2021 VJ11, will also be the closest asteroid to Earth, just 2.6 million km away. Meanwhile, 2016 JG12 will fly by Earth at a distance of 5.5 million km.
All three asteroids are classified as Near-Earth Objects (CNEOS) by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Objects (CNEOS) because their orbits are only about 193 million kilometers from Earth. CNEOS accurately tracks asteroids’ orbits and predicts their future movements, helping scientists know in advance when they will approach.
According to CNEOS, all three asteroids above are not in danger of hitting Earth. However, NASA is also preparing plans to protect the blue planet in the future.
Later this month, a mission called the Dual Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will kick off. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts the DART spacecraft from the launch pad at Vandenberg Base, California, USA. The ship will crash into the moon Dimorphos 160 meters in diameter. The mission was to test the ability to use spacecraft to deflect dangerous objects to Earth.