An asteroid wider than the tallest building in the world will cross Earth's orbit next week, media reports said Wednesday.
Named 7482 (1994 PC1), the asteroid is slated to fly by Jan. 18 but is not expected to threaten Earth with a direct collision.
A 3,400-foot-wide asteroid will make a safe flyby of Earth next week https://t.co/0apAf6OVDZ pic.twitter.com/EOJ0qJBBEn— SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) January 12, 2022
But it will come within roughly 1.2 million miles, close enough to earn the "potentially hazardous" label from NASA for its "potential to make threatening approaches to the Earth," according to the space agency, as reported by CBS News.
The agency began tracking the asteroid in 1994. It is traveling at 47,344 kilometers per hour (29,418 miles per hour) and at roughly two-thirds of a mile wide, its breadth is a little wider than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai -- the world's tallest building at 828 meters (2,716.5 feet).
Asteroids speeding past Earth are nothing new as it is estimated there are about 25,000 so-called near-Earth ones that are a minimum of 500 feet in width and, if they crash into Earth, could be "devastating," Nancy Chabot of US-based Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory told CBS.
Next week, get your telescope ready. On Tuesday, January 18, a kilometer-wide asteroid is expected to pass by Earth just before 5 pm EST. According to NASA projections, it will be the closest pass-by of Earth by an asteroid for the next two centuries. pic.twitter.com/5mLN6lsVxF— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 12, 2022
"We're actually not talking, like, global extinction event, but regional devastation on the area that could wipe out a city or even a small state," she said. "And so it is a real concern. It is a real threat."
NASA is preparing for such an eventuality in case an asteroid poses a direct threat to Earth.
In September, it will conduct a Double Asteroid Redirection Test, colliding a probe with a small asteroid called Dimorphos, to see if it is possible to deflect a devastating asteroid from Earth.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Copyright Andolu Ajansi