According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), an asteroid four times the size of the Empire State Building will approach Earth on May 27.
Fear not: the marble, designated 7335 (1989 JA), will pass Earth by at a distance of roughly 2.5 million miles (4 million kilometers), or nearly 10 times the usual distance between Earth and the moon.
Despite the asteroid’s massive size (1.1 miles or 1.8 kilometers in diameter) and close proximity to Earth, NASA has classified it as “possibly dangerous,” indicating it might cause massive harm to our planet if its orbit changes and it collides with it.
Asteroid 7335 will make the closest approach to Earth
According to NASA, asteroid 7335 (1989 JA) will make the closest approach to Earth this year.
According to scientists, the marble is traveling at a speed of roughly 47,200 mph (76,000 km/h), which is 20 times quicker than a bullet.
The rock won’t make another near flyby until June 23, 2055, when it will pass even closer to Earth than this one, or within 70 times the distance between Earth and the moon.
Moreover, this marble is one of over 29,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs) tracked by NASA each year.
According to NASA, a NEO is any celestial object that travels within 30 million miles (48 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit. The majority of these objects are extremely small; 7335 (1989 JA) is larger than 99 percent of the NEOs NASA monitors, according to NASA.
As previously reported by Live Science, 7335 (1989 JA) belongs to the Apollo-class of marbles, which are asteroids that orbit the sun while periodically crossing Earth’s orbit. There are over 15,000 such asteroids known to astronomers.
NASA keeps a careful eye on NEOs like this one and just launched a mission to see if potentially dangerous asteroids could be diverted from colliding with Earth in the future.
NASA launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission in November 2021, which will smash head-on with the 525-foot-wide (160-meter) Dimorphos asteroid in autumn 2022.
According to Live Science, the collision will not kill the marble, but it may alter its orbital course significantly.