An enormous asteroid is set to skim past Earth tonight, NASA has revealed.
The asteroid, dubbed 2020 BD9, is estimated to measure 29 – 65 metres in diameter. At the higher end of that estimate, it suggests that the asteroid could be the same size as the wingspan of a Boeing 747!
It will pass Earth at around 22:57 GMT tonight, at which point it will be around 3.8 million miles away from our planet.
While that might sound far, it’s deemed a ‘close approach’ by NASA.
During the passing, the asteroid will be travelling at staggering speeds of 16,933mph – that’s about 8.5 times faster than a bullet!
Thankfully, the chances of this asteroid colliding with our planet are extremely low.
However, NASA hasn’t written off the chances of an asteroid collision in the near future.
NASA discovers around 30 new ‘near-Earth objects’ (NEOs) every week, and at the start of 2019 had discovered a total of more than 19,000 objects.
However, the space agency has warned its NEO catalogue isn’t complete, meaning an unpredicted impact could occur at ‘any time.’
NASA explained: “Experts estimate that an impact of an object the size of the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 – approximately 55 feet (17 meters) in size – takes place once or twice a century.
“Impacts of larger objects are expected to be far less frequent (on the scale of centuries to millennia).
“However, given the current incompleteness of the NEO catalogue, an unpredicted impact – such as the Chelyabinsk event – could occur at any time.”
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