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A big asteroid will zoom very close to Earth this weekend

A gigantic space rock called 2000 QW7 which is thought to be up to 650 meters wide is headed our way and will zoom very close, at about five million miles from Earth this Saturday at a speed of more than 23,000 kilometers per hour.

Subsequent calculations showed the object will miss us. ‘We’ll observe the asteroid with both optical and radar telescopes. With radar observations, we might be able to see surface details that are only a few meters in size,’ Marina Brozović, a radar scientist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said. If Apophis did hit a city like London, it would wipe out millions of people and create a crater roughly three miles wide.

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The asteroid was discussed at Nasa’s annual Planetary Defence Conference this week, where scientists and disaster planners also simulated an asteroid apocalypse in order to practice their emergency response. „We have effectively ruled out the possibility of an Earth impact by Apophis in 2036,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office. The European Space Agency issued an urgent call for more ‘eyes on the sky’ to make sure we don’t get caught by ‘surprise’ again. NASA estimates it has already found over 90 percent of near-Earth objects measuring one kilometre or larger which would have catastrophic global effects in the event of a collision.

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