Are there ‘potentially hazardous asteroids’? Huge space rock to pass Earth

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An asteroid bigger than New York’s Empire State Building is heading towards Earth but NASA has assured that the massive space rock will pass without causing any harm.

The news has sparked the interest of the public to learn whether there are any potentially hazardous asteroids near our planet.

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A kilometre-wide asteroid to pass Earth next week

A kilometre-wide asteroid, which is three times larger than the Empire State Building and wider than the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, will pass by Earth next week.

The massive space rock will fly by our planet on Tuesday, January 18th at a speed of over 47,000 miles per hour.

As per NASA, the approaching asteroid is believed to fly past the Earth 1.2 million miles away which is a safe distance, the federal government agency has explained.

The space rock is known as (7482) 1994 PC1 and was first detected back in 1994. The next time to approach Earth at a similar distance is expected to happen in January, 2105. You can track the upcoming asteroid yourself here.

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Are the any ‘potentially hazardous asteroids’?

Astronomers say that there are 25,000 asteroids near Earth that are 500 feet wide or larger in size.

Nancy Chabot, who is chief planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, said that while they won’t lead to “global extinction event”, some of them could be “devastating” for certain cities or regions if they crash on Earth.

“The ones that we’re most concerned about right now are things that are a few hundred meters (across), and that’s because we’ve found less than half of this population,” she told CBS News. “And so we’re not really sure where all of them are.”

She continued: “We’re actually not talking, like, global extinction event, but regional devastation on the area that could wipe out a city or even a small state. And so it is a real concern. It is a real threat.”

Since the start of 2022, a number of safe asteroids have flown by Earth. Five of them passed by our planet within the first week of the year.

Don’t Look Up | Official Trailer | Netflix

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Don’t Look Up | Official Trailer | Netflix

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Social media users react to the asteroid

Since the news about the asteroid have started trending on social media, many readers have been sharing their reactions.

“We’re safe, but it’s a little too close for comfort. An asteroid twice the size of the Empire State Building is projected to pass Earth next week,” reacted one person.

Meanwhile, another user, who referred to the movie Don’t Look Up, tweeted: “The question I have, the thing that’s been bothering me for a while now, why would a three-star general charge people for free snacks. I mean he must have known they’d find out eventually.”

Check out more reactions from Twitter.

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It’s going to miss Earth by more than one MILLION miles. Explain the ‘potential’ hazard.

— GrilledTomatoes (@TomatoesGrilled) January 12, 2022

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