Asteroid over three times the size of Big Ben to hurtle past Earth next week
A HUGE asteroid is set to skim past Earth next week.
The space rock is on Nasa’s ‘Earth Close Approaches’ list and could measure up to 1017 foot.
That would make it three times as big as Big Ben and almost as tall as The Shard.
It’s called Asteroid 441987 (2010 NY65) and will be heading past Earth next Wednesday on June 24.
The large space rock is estimated to come as close as 2.3 million miles away from our planet.
Any fast moving space object that comes within around 4.65 million miles is considered to be “potentially hazardous” by cautious space organisations.
Asteroid 441987 (2010 NY65) is set to pass us in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Nasa is expecting a flyby at around 06:44 UTC.
It will be travelling at around an impressive 28,000 miles per hour.
The asteroid is 15 times bigger than the Chelyabinsk meteor, which exploded over Russia back in 2013.
Its impact smashed windows and injured more than 1,000 people.
Experts did not predict the impact, sparking concern that Earth could be surprised with a more devastating incident in the future.
What’s the difference between an asteroid, meteor and comet?
Here’s what you need to know, according to Nasa…
- Asteroid: An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun. Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) but they can be found anywhere (including in a path that can impact Earth)
- Meteoroid: When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids
- Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it begins to vapourise and then becomes a meteor. On Earth, it’ll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up
- Meteorite: If a meteoroid doesn’t vapourise completely and survives the trip through Earth’s atmosphere, it can land on the Earth. At that point, it becomes a meteorite
- Comet: Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun. However rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them (thanks to the ice and dust vapourising)
Most read in Science
In other space news, at least 110 humans would be needed to start a new civilisation on Mars, a study has calculated.
Nasa’s Curiosity rover has captured a snapshot of what Venus and Earth look like from Mars.
And, six billion Earth-like planets could be awaiting our discovery in the Milky Way.
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