A large 1,600-foot-wide asteroid is heading towards Earth, according to NASA. Know the chances of it hitting our planet.
A gigantic asteroid is hurtling towards Earth, according to the American space agency NASA. The asteroid is 1,600 feet wide and will make its closest approach to Earth on Monday, May 9. Unlike many asteroids that have passed by our planet in recent times, this one is actually very big. For reference, this asteroid is about 100 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower. Such asteroids are rare and any time an asteroid of this size comes close to Earth it is cause for concern as even the slightest deviation can be catastrophic for us. If an asteroid of this size were to hit the planet, it would create a zone of mass destruction, create long-range seismic waves, and trigger a tsunami in nearby regions. Know what the odds of an asteroid strike are.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory explained that the asteroid is called 467460 (2006 JF42) and is 1600 feet or 488 meters wide. The asteroid is expected to make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 5,710,000 kilometers. The asteroid is moving at a speed of 37,196 km/h. Although it may seem like a great distance, at high speed it moves, it is reduced to a small distance. Scientists are constantly monitoring the asteroid to make sure it maintains its distance. For now, the asteroid is expected to make a safe passage and not likely to impact Earth.
NASA: An asteroid the size of an Eiffel Tower is hurtling towards Earth
Due to the size of asteroid 2006 JF42 and its relatively close proximity to Earth, it is classified as potentially hazardous. The asteroid belongs to the Aten class of asteroids. The Aten asteroids are a dynamic group of asteroids whose orbits bring them closer to Earth. By definition, Atens are asteroids traversing the Earth. This particular asteroid travels between Mercury and Earth and it takes one year to complete one revolution around the Sun. Although it frequently crosses paths with Earth, it hasn’t ventured this close to us in decades. The next time it gets this close won’t be until 2033.
Due to these circumstances, NASA constantly monitors the space rock, which has been classified as a near-Earth (NEO) asteroid. The Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) is an integral part of the US agency that observes and maps all asteroids that may threaten us.