NASA is trying to hit asteroids before they approach Earth (Eric Simonsen/Getty)
A massive asteroid four times the size of the US Empire State Building is approaching Earth, and it will be closest to our planet on May 27, according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.
The asteroid, named 7335 (1989 JA), will pass near Earth at a distance of 4 million km, which is 10 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. However, due to the massive size of the space rock (1.8 km in diameter) and its relative proximity to Earth, NASA has classified the asteroid as “potentially dangerous”, which means that it can cause serious damage to our planet if its orbit changes.
According to NASA, 7335 (1989 JA) is the largest asteroid that will approach Earth this year. Scientists estimate that it travels at a speed of about 76,000 kilometers per hour, which is 20 times faster than a bullet.
This asteroid is one of more than 29,000 near-Earth objects that NASA tracks every year. These asteroids refer to any astronomical body that passes within about 48 million kilometers of Earth’s orbit.
And NASA usually monitors near-Earth objects closely, and recently launched a mission to test the possibility of changing some asteroids’ course if they pose a threat to Earth.
And in November 2021, NASA sent a spacecraft that will collide with the 160-meter-wide asteroid Demorphos in the fall of 2022. The collision will not destroy the asteroid, but it may change its orbital path slightly, away from Earth.