An asteroid that is expected to pass close to planet Earth next Wednesday (29) has a shape that resembles that of a face mask, used to prevent the contagion of the new coronavirus.
He was photographed by officials at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, who monitor his orbit. "As we are all thinking about Covid-19, these (asteroid) features make it look like a mask," says Anne Virkki, head of the observatory's radar.
Approximately 1.9 km wide, the asteroid is called 52768 (OR2) and was first discovered in 1998, according to CNN. It will pass 3,908,791 miles away from Earth, moving at 19,461 miles per hour.
During the pandemic, scientists at the Arecibo Observatory maintain their observations for planetary defense. Respecting social distancing, they limited the number of scientists and radar operators on the premises and wear masks during observations. They claim that in 2079 the same asteroid will pass about 3.5 times closer to Earth.