As per details of a presentation given at Planetary Defense Conference held at International Academy of Aeronautics, within a span of two years during late 2020’s, around six large asteroids will fly past earth. Radar specialist Lance Benner of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who explained the details of scientific opportunity that this event would provide to the community stated that this series of flybys would begin from June 2027. He declared that after the first other asteroids would come in quick succession making the next two years very exciting for the scientific community.
However there is no danger of any of these asteroids touching earth as they will not intersect with orbit of the earth. But they will be close enough for observation by telescopes and binoculars too. In fact, the Apophis asteroid will be visible by naked eye. The first one to visit earth in this series is referred to as 1990 MU which is also the largest one as it is nearly 2.8 kilometers wide. Two of these asteroids will come closer to Earth than the moon and this close approach will help scientists to take detailed radar images of them.
Scientists will have ample opportunity to study the asteroids from close quarters and collect data about their rotation and shapes. As they have advance information of this event they will prepare spacecraft to get as many details as possible as was displayed in the past by OSIRIS-Rex of NASA and Hayabusa2 of Japan. These missions can detect the smallest of changes on the surface of these asteroids that could occur due to Earth’s gravity during the flyby. The chain of asteroid flyby will end with Apophis and could encourage people planning spacecraft missions to carry instruments past these asteroids to study them better. Of the six asteroids only three will be visible by binoculars.