2400-foot asteroid, size of Empire State Building, near Earth today!
Smaller asteroids frequently make close trips to Earth and although their distance of close approach
Smaller asteroids frequently make close trips to Earth and although their distance of close approach is less, they fly past the planet without causing any harm. Larger asteroids pose a risk due to their sheer size even if they aren't on a collision course with Earth. A slight deviation in the asteroid's path due to interaction with the planet's gravitational field could change its trajectory and send it tumbling towards Earth's surface with catastrophic consequences.
NASA has now warned that a gigantic 2400-foot asteroid is speeding towards Earth today and it could cause major damage to life and property if it impacts.
Asteroid 2005 YY128
The asteroid, named Asteroid 2005 YY128 is an Apollo group asteroid that is on a path which will bring it very close to Earth today, February 16. NASA expects the asteroid to pass Earth at a distance of 4.5 million kilometers. Although the distance might seem a lot, it is relatively a small number in astronomical distances, considering how big the asteroid is.
NASA estimates Asteroid 2005 YY128 to be nearly 2400 feet wide. This makes it almost as big as a bridge and nearly twice the size of the Empire State Building! It could mean devastating consequences for the planet if it collides with Earth. It is speeding at a fearsome 88735 kilometers (about 55137.37 mi) per hour. That is considerably faster than other asteroids that have passed Earth recently.
Did you know?
One asteroid that NASA is studying up close, called Bennu, has a 1/2700 chance of impacting Earth between 2175 and 2195. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will complete a 2-year investigation of Bennu before plucking a sample of asteroid material off its surface and delivering it back to Earth. Along with collecting a sample, OSIRIS-REx will also be studying how light absorbed from the Sun and re-radiated by Bennu affects its orbitâ€”and consequently, how that orbit could become more dangerous for Earth.