Got exciting plans this weekend? You might want to rethink them: according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a pretty massive asteroid will be flying by planet Earth this Saturday. Fun stuff!
According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), asteroid 163348 (2002 NN4) will be "potentially hazardous" given its relative proximity to Earth—3.1 million miles (yes, that's not a lot in astronomy terms).
A bit of a space lesson for you all: the government agency labels any object larger than 492 feet that can get within 4.6 million miles from our planet as "potentially hazardous." It even features a widget, the asteroid watch, on its site that showcases the next five such objects.
Although, according to SpaceReference.org, this particular asteroid is "very small" compared to others, when measured against Earth-relegated structures, the extraterrestrial system suddenly looms large. To put it in perspective: 163348 (2002 NN4) measures between 0.254 and 0.568 kilometers in diameter while the height of the Empire State Building in New York is about 0.4432.
If this is all giving you a déjà vu, it's because back in April, NASA warned us of yet another asteroid, this one called 52768 (1998 OR2), coming dangerously close to us humans. According to the agency, that one was "large enough to cause global effects."
We must say that 2020 is truly shaping up to be a memorable year.
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