NASA: A large asteroid will pass earth in September

Scientists are getting ready to study an asteroid that’s nearly three miles in size. 

“Asteroid Florence, a large near-Earth asteroid, will pass safely by Earth on Sept. 1, 2017, at a distance of about 4.4 million miles,” NASA notes in a news release. “Florence is among the largest near-Earth asteroids that are several miles is size.”

Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, explains the significance of the event.

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NASA provides insight into 'ocean worlds' in our solar system
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NASA provides insight into 'ocean worlds' in our solar system

This graphic illustrates how Cassini scientists think water interacts with rock at the bottom of the ocean of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus, producing hydrogen gas.

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

These composite images show a suspected plume of material erupting two years apart from the same location on Jupiter's icy moon Europa. Both plumes, photographed in UV light by Hubble, were seen in silhouette as the moon passed in front of Jupiter.

Credits: NASA/ESA/STScI/USGS

The green oval highlights the plumes Hubble observed on Europa. The area also corresponds to a warm region on Europa's surface. The map is based on observations by the Galileo spacecraft.

Credits: NASA/ESA/STScI/USGS

This illustration shows Cassini diving through the Enceladus plume in 2015. New ocean world discoveries from Cassini and Hubble will help inform future exploration and the broader search for life beyond Earth.

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Cassini spacecraft spied this tight trio of craters as it approached Saturn's icy moon Enceladus for a close flyby in this image captured Oct. 14, 2015. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Saturn's ocean-bearing moon Enceladus taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 27, 2016. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
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“While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller," Chodas says. "Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began.”

Florence was discovered in 1981 and named after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

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