Asteroid 5,900 feet wide will pass Earth next week, largest of the year

According to NASA, a massive asteroid will fly past Earth later this month, the largest to come close this year.

The large space rock, named 7335 (1989 JA), is estimated to be about 5,900 feet wide, according to figures from NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

This estimate would mean you could fit about two of the world’s tallest buildings – Dubai’s Burj Khalifa – along its entire length.

According to NASA’s figures, no other near-Earth object that will come close to Earth in 2022 is as large as 1989 JA.

The asteroid is expected to come close on May 27, when it will come within about 2.5 million miles of Earth — a safe distance, albeit relatively close in astronomical terms.

Stock image showing an asteroid. According to NASA, a massive asteroid will fly past Earth later this month, the largest to come close this year.
iStock

As the asteroid flies past Earth, it will travel at a staggering speed of about 47,200 miles per hour.

This is about 20 times as fast as a rifle bullet and about a fifth as fast as a lightning bolt.

Other larger asteroids to come close to Earth in 2022 include space rock 7482 (1994 PC1) — which passed earlier this year and is thought to be about 3,330 feet wide.

These objects are known as near-earth objects or NEOs — a term used to refer to any astronomical body that passes within about 30 million miles of our planet’s orbit.

More than 29,000 NEOs have been discovered so far, most of which are asteroids. Most of these NEOs are also relatively small.

Some NEOs that meet certain criteria are also categorized as “Potentially Hazardous” due to their large size and orbits. 1989 YES, for example, would fall into this category.

But despite the name, none of the potentially dangerous NEOs have any chance of colliding with Earth in the next century or so, according to the CNEOS.

“The designation ‘Potentially Hazardous’ simply means that the orbit of the asteroid could evolve over many centuries and millennia into an orbit that has a chance to affect Earth. We are not assessing these long-term possibilities of many centuries of impact,” CNEOS Director Paul Chodas told news week

According to the CNEOS, more than 2,260 NEOs are categorized as “potentially dangerous.” But there may be more.

“More work needs to be done in seeking more [Potentially Hazardous asteroids] because we expect there to be about a few thousand more [of them] yet to be discovered. The main goal of NASA’s upcoming NEO Surveyor mission is to find as many of them as possible,” Chodas said.

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