A large asteroid the size of the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building is heading for Earth. The flyby is expected to take place on Tuesday, January 18.
The massive asteroid has a diameter of approximately 791 meters. Its estimated size is about 3,280 feet, which is approximately the size of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and twice the height of New York City’s Empire State Building.
For comparison, the distance between the earth and the moon is far less than that around 385,00 km. As such, despite being classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid(PHA) due to its size and close proximity to Earth, it seems unlikely to pose a threat to the planet. In fact, NASA has declared the Earth safe from asteroid impacts for the next 100 years.
The asteroid’s size also isn’t a cause for concern. Hasan Al Hariri, the CEO of Dubai Astronomy Group, said it will pass Earth safely.
“The asteroid will fly past and go even beyond the moon. It’s not going to collide with our planet,” he said. “There are more than 500 such asteroids. These are also called NEOs or Nearth-Earth Objects or Hazardous Bodies.”
“There are different types of asteroids, and we have to create different methods to defend Earth against potential asteroids or comet hazards,” Al Hariri said.
The speeding asteroid will pass 1.93 million kilometres from earth, or about five times the distance between earth and moon.
“Nasa’s programmes of planetary defence systems monitor all such bodies that can cause a threat to Earth, either in the short or long-term,” Al Hariri said. “Different space agencies also monitor the sky and there are many surveys held around the year and around the world to identify such objects that could pose a threat to us. Additionally, advanced telescopes are being manufactured that can capture up to even one million objects coming from space.”