The asteroid, known as the 1990 MU, is currently completing another orbit of the Sun and may reach dangerously close to Earth in 2027. The asteroid 1990 MU has a diameter between 4-9 kilometers and on June 6, 2027 it should reach 0.03 AU – an astronomical unit. An AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, so arriving within just 0.03 AU is dangerously close.
For reference, Mars – the planet that humans hope to reach – is about 0.5 AU.
The asteroid is classified as a potentially dangerous asteroid, which NASA has "the potential to make threatening close approaches to Earth."
According to NASA data, 2019 OK was large – approximately 187 to 427 feet (57 to 130) wide – and swiftly traversed a path, bringing it only 45,000 miles (73,000 km) from Earth when it flew in the last weeks.
It was less than a fifth of the distance to the moon, and what Professor Alan Duffy of the Royal Institution of Australia called "uncomfortably close."
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An asteroid impact 66 million years ago put an end to dinosaurs
This asteroid would be big enough to obliterate a city so that 1990 MU could be truly devastating.
The 1990 MU asteroid is up to nine kilometers in diameter, which puts it in the same ballpark as the space rock that put an end to dinosaurs.
This cosmic rock is thought to have been 10-15 kilometers wide and crashed in what is now Mexico 66 million years ago, marking the beginning of the end of the dinosaurs.
Studies at the University of Glasgow have found that up to three quarters of life on Earth is wiped out by an asteroid, with dinosaurs dying within a few centuries.
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The orbit of 1990 MU on July 7, 2027.
The cosmic rock caused a cloud of dust that filled the air, blocking the sun, leading to drastic and sudden changes in climate that eventually created a major food shortage on Earth, leading to the death of larger animals and allowing more small creatures, such as mammals, thrive in their absence.
Now a comparable asteroid is headed for the Earth's path.
While the asteroid will be close in the next decade, it will be even closer in 2058, when it comes within 0.02 AU – less than three million kilometers.
Scientists estimate that a life-ending asteroid, such as the one that put an end to dinosaur rule, will collide with the Earth every 100 million years or more.
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But asteroids can strike at any moment, and there is always a very low probability of a massive space rock ending civilization to hit more quickly.
For this reason, many argue that global authorities must have a plan – but they don't seem to do it.
NASA employee Robert Frost, who works as an instructor and flight controller for the space agency according to his bio on Quora and Quora, said the best thing governments can do is tell the public to "pursue" as there will be little that can be done to prepare for the inevitable.
Mr Frost wrote in response to the question: "If it is determined that an asteroid will wipe out humanity, say in 2 months, how would the governments of the world respond?"
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He said: "It's difficult. Movies tell us that they would keep it a secret. It makes a lot of sense. Mass panic may be more dangerous than the actual event.
"But my experience in government is that the government is really not good at keeping anything secret unless it starts in a secret part of a culture like the military.
"Something like this is likely to be discovered first by someone who cannot write 'security'. This would be obvious to astronomers around the world.
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"Feeling helpless, the government will probably just tell us to 'break down' and tape the windows.
"Then Democrats will accuse him of Republicans for ignoring global warming, and Republicans will accuse him of Democrats of not praying at school."