This unusual event should take place on March 21st, 2021, at precisely 16:03 (UK time). Although asteroids frequently approach at a reasonable distance from Earth, few are classified as ‘potentially dangerous’ by NASA. Yet this is what has happened with the gigantic asteroid 231937, called ‘2001 F032,’ which is approaching our planet at breakneck speed.
The biggest and fastest of the year
What differentiates ‘2001 F032’ from its fellow asteroids first and foremost is its size. Its diameter measures between 0.476 and 1.065 miles. This is far larger than its most recent predecessors, such as ‘2019 YPS,’ which passed ‘close’ to Earth a few weeks ago and is 403 feet long.
As if that wasn't enough, ‘2001 F032’ is also the fastest asteroid to approach us in 2021. While ‘2019 YPS’ was moving rather fast at 8.3 miles per second, this one has a speed of over 21.3 miles per second. These characteristics make it a real sight to behold.
Is there really any risk?
However, according to astronomers, there is no need to worry. Despite all these facts, there is no risk of the asteroid colliding with Earth. The distance at which it will pass close to us is rather small but remains reasonable: over 1.2 million miles, which is still extremely small on the scale of the universe.
‘2001 F032,’ so-called because it was discovered in Mexico on March 23rd, 2001, will still be observable and will provide us with quite the show. As for a potential collision between our planet and an asteroid, we will have to wait until 2185. That year, ‘2009 FD’ will have a one in 714 chance of colliding with Earth. That is still not much, about a 0.2% chance, but the risk will nevertheless be real.