FP TrendingMay 13, 2022 15:15:20 IST
Scientists have warned that a 1,600-feet asteroid will pass by the earth in the early hours of 16 May. Asteroid 388945 (2008 TZ3) will be closest to earth at 2:48 am on the same day, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The asteroid, is bigger than most buildings on the planet, including New York’s iconic Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty as well as Paris’s Eiffel Tower.
The huge asteroid will pass from a distance of about 2.5 million miles away, which has made the space agency flag it off as a “close approach.” A space rock of this size can cause huge damage if it ever hits the planet.
The asteroid routinely passes by the Earth while orbiting the Sun, with the last instance being in 2020. The asteroid will next come close to the planet in 2024, though nowhere as near as time. Asteroid 388945 (2008 TZ3) will next come this close to the Earth in May 2163.
Asteroids are rocky, airless remnants that have been leftover from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago, according to NASA. There are currently 1,113,527 known asteroids, most of which can be found orbiting the Sun between Jupiter and Mars. As per the space agency, the total mass of all the asteroids combined is less than that of Earth’s Moon.
If one of the space rocks comes within 4.65 million miles of the Earth’s orbit and is over about 500 feet across, it’s flagged off as “potentially hazardous” by space agencies. Many of them, including NASA, have made contingency plans to protect the planet from any potential collision.
According to Space.com, smaller asteroids that are believed to strike the planet every 1,000 to 10,000 years can lead to devastating tsunamis or destroy a city. Asteroids smaller than 25 m will most likely burn up as they enter the planet’s atmosphere.