It may be Friday the 13th, but don't let the thought of a killer asteroid scare you.
NASA has discovered three near-Earth objects (NEOs) that are flying past the planet on Friday, including one that will come within 0.03561 astronomical units.
The three asteroids, 2010 RM82, 2013 CV83 and 504800 (2010 CO1), do not pose any danger to Earth and will fly safely past the planet at various times, the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) said.
Asteroid 2010 RM82 flew past the planet at 6:38 a.m. EDT, coming within 0.04655 astronomical units (approximately 4.3 million miles) from the planet’s center, CNEOS stated. 2010 RM82 is traveling nearly 33,000 mph and has an estimated diameter of approximately 128 feet.
It is not expected to come close to Earth again until Feb. 12, 2027.
The second asteroid designated as a NEO is 2013 CV83, which flew past Earth at 8:54 a.m. EDT at approximately 29,000 mph, the agency pointed out. 2013 CV83 came within 0.04134 astronomical units of the planet and had a diameter of approximately 328 feet.
It is also not expected to come close to Earth anytime soon, with CNEOS estimating its orbit will take it close to Earth on Feb. 15, 2025.
The third and final asteroid is known as 504800 (2010 CO1), which will zip past the planet at 11:42 p.m. EDT at a distance of 0.03561 astronomical units, approximately 3.3 million miles, NASA said.
Asteroid 504800 (2010 CO1) is moving 32,000 mph and its diameter is estimated to be 853 feet. The asteroid will also fly past Earth next year, on Sept. 16, 2020, with subsequent visits in September 2021, September 2022 and September 2023. After that, it will not come near Earth again until February 2061.
Another asteroid, 2006 QV89, is slated to fly past Earth "at a comfortable distance" of 4.3 million miles on Sep. 27, 2019, CNEOS added.
NASA has been preparing for planetary defense from asteroid strikes for years. A recent survey showed that Americans prefer a space program that focuses on potential asteroid impacts over sending humans back to the moon or to Mars.
In 2016, NASA formalized the agency’s prior program for detecting and tracking NEOs and put it inside its Science Mission Directorate. Last June, NASA unveiled a 20-page plan that detailed the steps the U.S. should take to be better prepared for NEOs — such as asteroids and comets — that come within 30 million miles of the planet.
In addition to enhancing NEO detection, tracking and characterizing capabilities and improving modeling prediction, the plan also aims to develop technologies for deflecting NEOs, increasing international cooperation and establishing new NEO impact emergency procedures and action protocols.
Earlier this year, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said that an asteroid strike is not something to be taken lightly and is perhaps Earth's biggest threat.