(ORDO NEWS) — A giant “potentially hazardous” asteroid that could be twice the size of the Empire State Building will blast past Earth according to NASA.
An asteroid named 418135 (2008 AG33) has a diameter of 1,150 to 2,560 feet (350 to 780 meters) and will burst into Earth’s orbit at a speed of 23,300 miles per hour (37,400 km/h). Fortunately, the asteroid is expected to pass our planet without the risk of a collision.
At its closest point, the asteroid, which travels 30 times the speed of sound, will approach Earth at a distance of about 2 million miles (3.2 million kilometers), about eight times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon.
This may seem like a big difference, but by cosmic standards, this is just a one-step distance.
NASA labels any space object that approaches Earth within 120 million miles (193 million km) as a “near-Earth object” and any fast-moving object within 4.65 million miles (7.5 million km) – as “potentially dangerous”.
Once objects are marked, astronomers watch them closely, looking for any deviations from their predicted trajectory that could put them on a collision course with Earth.
The approaching space rock was first detected on January 12, 2008 by asteroid observers at the Mt. The Lemmon SkyCenter in Arizona and last passed Earth on March 1, 2015, according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Objects (CNEOS).
The asteroid flies past our planet about once every seven years, and the next close flyby is predicted for May 25, 2029.
Thursday’s asteroid may not even be the biggest space rock to fly by us in the coming weeks.
This title will most likely go to 467460 (2006 JF42), which has a diameter of 1,247 to 2,822 feet (380-860 m) and will be traveling at approximately 25,300 miles per hour (40,700 km/h) when it will fly past us on May 9, 2022.
If astronomers ever find an asteroid heading straight for Earth, space agencies around the world are already working on ways to possibly deflect the object.
On November 24, 2021, NASA launched a spacecraft as part of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, during which it is planned to redirect a non-hazardous asteroid, knocking it off course.
China is also in the early stages of planning an asteroid redirect mission. As a result of the impact of 23 Long March 5 rockets with the asteroid Bennu, according to representatives of the country, they will be able to deflect the space rock from a potentially catastrophic collision with Earth.
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