Asteroid warning: Space rock comparable to dinosaur killer is heading Earth’s way

Asteroid warning: Space rock comparable to dinosaur killer is heading Earth’s way

The asteroid known as 1990 MU is currently completing another orbit of the Sun, and in 2027 it could come perilously close to Earth. Asteroid 1990

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The asteroid known as 1990 MU is currently completing another orbit of the Sun, and in 2027 it could come perilously close to Earth. Asteroid 1990 MU is between 4-9 kilometres in diameter and on June 6 2027, it is set to come within 0.03 AU – astronomical unit. One AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, so coming within just 0.03 AU is perilously close.

For reference, Mars – the planet which humans are hoping to reach – is around 0.5 AU.

The asteroid is classed as a potentially hazardous asteroid, which according to NASA has the “potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth.”

According to data from NASA, 2019 OK was large – an estimated 187 to 427 ft (57 to 130) wide – and hurtling fast along a path bringing it within only 45,000 miles (73,000km) of Earth when it flew by in recent weeks.

This was less than one-fifth of the distance to the Moon and what the Royal Institution of Australia’s Professor Alan Duffy described as “uncomfortably close.”

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Asteroid warning: Space rock comparable to dinosaur killer is heading Earth’s way (Image: GETTY)

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An asteroid strike 66 million years ago put an end to the dinosaurs (Image: GETTY)

That asteroid would have been big enough to wipe out a city, so 1990 MU could be truly devastating.

Asteroid 1990 MU is up to nine kilometres in diameter, which puts it in the same ball-park as the space rock which put an end to the dinosaurs.

That space rock is believed to have been between 10-15 kilometres wide and came crashing into what is now Mexico 66 million years ago marking the beginning of the end of the dinosaurs.

Research from the University of Glasgow has found up to three quarters of life on Earth was wiped out from the asteroid, with the dinosaurs dying out within a few centuries.

READ MORE: Asteroid danger: Could HUGE space rock hit Earth this year? 

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The orbit of 1990 MU on July 7 2027 (Image: NASA)

The space rock caused a cloud of dust to fill the air which blocked out the sun, leading to drastic and sudden climate change that ultimately created major food shortages across Earth, leading to the death of bigger animals, and allowing smaller creatures, such as mammals, to thrive in their absence.

Now, a comparable asteroid is heading Earth’s way.

While the asteroid will be close within the next decade, it will be even closer in 2058, when it comes within 0.02 AU – less than three million kilometres.

Scientists estimate that a life-ending asteroid, such as the one which put an end to the dinosaur’s reign, would collide with Earth every 100 million years or so.

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