If the asteroid passes through a keyhole, it could get pulled into a path that will take it directly to Earth. (File Photo)
We are lucky because monstrous space rocks 2000 QW7, which came dangerously close to our planet at 5:30 pm on Saturday, zipped past the Earth. But there is nothing to cheer because a scientist has warned that the blue planet may not be so fortunate when the asteroid returns in the future. Yes, you read it right.
If the asteroid, which measures 2,133 feet (measuring between 290 and 650 metres) and is as Burj Khalifa - world's tallest building, passes through a keyhole, it could get pulled into a path that will take it directly to Earth, reported IBTimes.
According to scientific reports, there are various factors in space that can alter an asteroid’s trajectory and they are affected by the gravitational pull of nearby planets.
According to Dr. Rebecca Allen of Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology, the size of the asteroid is enough to produce an explosion that’s equivalent to multiple nuclear bombs detonating.
“Something like this, if it was to impact Earth, would be devastating because it would hit with a force of 30 to 50 megatons,” she was quoted as saying by the Express. “That is the same force as modern nuclear weapons so we certainly wouldn’t want it to come any closer than its current distance and thankfully it will pass us by.”
Asteroid 2000 QW7 is expected to return in Earth's vicinity on October 19, 2038. It passes Earth at every 19.04 years. Asteroid 2000 QW7 is also classified as an 'Armor asteroid' by NASA.
During its closest approach, asteroid 2000 QW7 was 0.035428 astronomical units (AU) away from Earth. Space materials are considered as near-Earth objects if they pass within 1.3 astronomical units of Earth. An astronomical unit is the distance from Earth to the sun, or 149.6 million km. Asteroid 2000 QW7 was first detected on August 26, 2000.