‘Potentially Hazardous’ Asteroid To Skim Past Earth

Not the space object mentioned in the story. [Shutterstock/Marko Aliaksandr]

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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An asteroid potentially up to twice the size of the Empire State Building is expected to skim past Earth at roughly 23,000 miles per hour Thursday.

The enormous asteroid expected to fly past Thursday is considered “potentially hazardous,” according to NASA. Officially named 418135 (2008 AG33), the asteroid is estimated to be anywhere from 1,150 to 2,560 feet in diameter, Live Science reported.

It will come within about 2 million miles of Earth at some point Thursday while it is traveling at over 30 times the speed of sound, the report continued. Two million miles isn’t particularly far at all by space standards, LiveScience noted.

NASA designates any objects such as asteroids and comets that fly within 120 million miles of Earth as “near-Earth objects,” according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) branch of NASA. Those that are over 460 feet in size and come within 4.65 million miles are labeled “potentially hazardous” and are closely monitored by scientists, JPL continued.

The approaching asteroid was first discovered in 2008 and last flew by the planet in early 2015, LiveScience noted. It is expected to come by again in 2029, according to the outlet.

A second enormous asteroid will whizz past on or around May 9 at a speed of 25,3000 mph, according to the report. (RELATED: Stephen Hawking Had One Clear Warning About Aliens. Scientists Are Ignoring It)

If scientists discover any asteroids flying directly toward earth, there is a plan for international space agencies to attempt to deflect the object before it makes impact, according to LiveScience. NASA practices hypothetical impact exercises to help educate domestic and international disaster response personnel from space agencies and other leadership, JPL noted.