Asteroid Two Times Size of Empire State Building to Fly ‘Dangerously Close’ to Earth

Asteroid Two Times Size of Empire State Building to Fly ‘Dangerously Close’ to Earth

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NASA’s planetary defence programs, including the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), are in the works to prepare the planet to defend itself against a possible extinction driven by an asteroid hit. Recently, the Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), a subsidiary of NASA’s planetary defence program, reported that an asteroid 2.5 times the height of the Empire State Building is on its path to fly near our planet on January 18.

Christened as 7482 (1994 PC1), the asteroid would not hit Earth but will pass by frighteningly closer than most of the asteroids in the past. According to estimates, the asteroid is believed to pass through at a distance of 0.013 astronomical units, which equals roughly 19.3 lakh kilometres. The rock is estimated to fly by our planet at a speed of around 69200kmph.

The distance is five times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. Although the distance seems large, it has the potential to raise concerns when it comes to planetary bodies such as planets and space rocks. Moreover, apart from being tagged as a NEO (Near-Earth Objects), the asteroid has also been put in the PHA (Potentially-hazardous Asteroid).

Potentially-hazardous Asteroids are categorized based on various factors, including the size of the rock and its distance from our blue planet. The size of the asteroid is calculated to be around 1 kilometre in diameter, which crosses the minimum size required for the asteroid to qualify as a PHA by a large margin.

The asteroid, discovered by R.H. McNaught in 1994, is one of the 1000 asteroids which have a diameter of 1 kilometre and above, discovered by the CNEOS. Although being of high risk, none of them is expected to hit the planet anytime soon.

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