canard stating that the world is going to end on April 29, 2020 is going viral on social media. The rumour is accompanied by a video which has a logo of a news channel showing an asteroid travelling towards Earth. This video was posted by Facebook users . On checking the facts, it was found that an asteroid named 52768 will be passing by Earth on April 29. It had even predicted that the asteroid will fly past Earth at a distance of approximately 4 million miles on April 29, 2020.
When was it first heard?
It has been found that this news first appeared on Daily Express with the headline Asteroid warning: NASA tracks a 4KM asteroid approach – Could end civilisation if it hits.
People on social media started considering that this asteroid will end civilisation. This piece of news has created quite a sensation and confusion among the readers.
Let’s know some facts
India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) found this to be a misleading claim. While an asteroid that size could wreak havoc if it crashed into Earth — prompting some alarmist and misinformed media reports — this asteroid poses no threat. Recently, the Center for Near Earth Object Studies had tweeted that any warning regarding the asteroid is not true and that it will safely pass Earth by 3.9 million miles. This asteroid is also not mentioned in the list of Sentry Impact Risk Page of NASA which monitors the potential future Earth impact events.
Claims by NASA
A large and “potentially hazardous” asteroid is poised to fly by Earth next month, but it poses no threat to Earth. NASA has classified the asteroid as “potentially hazardous” not because it puts Earth in danger, but because it fulfills certain criteria in the agency’s classification scheme. NASA and its international partners are actively scanning the skies for potentially hazardous asteroids and studying ways to deflect an Earth-bound asteroid before it strikes.
We’ve seen some incorrect stories on #asteroid 2002 PZ39 circulating. The trajectory of this asteroid is very well known. It will safely pass Earth at a distance of 5.77 million km (3.59 million miles), about 15 times the distance of the Moon.
— NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) February 13, 2020
The amazing asteroid
The asteroid which is known as 52768 (1998 OR2) is with a massive size of around 1.8 km – 4.1 km and will reportedly fly past Earth on April 29, 2020, at 8.7 km per second at a distance of approximately 6.3 million miles away from the Earth. The minimum expected diameter of the space rock is going to be 1.8 km, which is more than twice the size of the highest structure on the planet, the BurjKhalifa (0.83 kilometres). This asteroid was first seen by NASA in 1998.
Beware of the Warnings
Since NEOs are usually comets and asteroids that actually go on a trip within 50 million km of the Earth’s orbit, there are categories to determine the threats they may present. As per NASA, any kind of NEOs that are bigger than 1 km are considered with utmost caution as they can potentially trigger mass destruction if they hit.
Advice for all
Unfortunately, the fantasy has real-life consequences. As one of NASA’s prominent speakers on doomsday myths, said, he receives many emails and letters from worried citizens, particularly young people. Some say they can’t eat, or are too worried to sleep. Others say they’re suicidal. While this is a joke to some people and a mystery to others, there is a core of people who are truly concerned. Not every apocalypse believer thinks the world will end on April 29. Some, inspired by New Age philosophies, expect a day of universal peace and spiritual transformation. But it’s impressionable kids who have NASA officials worried. It’s evil for people to propagate rumors on the Internet to frighten children.