A “potentially hazardous” XXL-sized asteroid traveling at approximately 30,000 miles per hour is expected to zoom by the Earth later this week — but unless it makes an unexpected left turn over Albuquerque, it is not expected to make contact with the planet.
The asteroid, named 7335 (1989 JA), has been classified as “potentially hazardous”, by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). It is 3,400-feet i.e. 1.8 kilometers wide and is classified as an Apollo class asteroid. The asteroid, potentially, is twice the size of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
Nothing to fear though as the asteroid, named 7335 (1989 JA), will soundly miss our planet by about 2.5 million miles (4 million kilometers) — or nearly 10 times the average distance between Earth and the moon. Still, given the space rock’s enormous size (1.1. miles, or 1.8 km, in diameter) and relatively close proximity to Earth, NASA has classified the asteroid as “potentially hazardous,” meaning it could do enormous damage to our planet if its orbit ever changes and the rock impacts Earth.
Run, baby, run.— Virtual Telescope (@VirtualTelescop) May 21, 2022
Potentially hazardous asteroid (7335) 1998 JA. Gianluca Masi – Virtual Telescope Project. pic.twitter.com/lzbYZPP3zA
Recently, the Virtual Telescope shared a visual of the asteroid as it rapidly traverses through the darkness of space. The Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of Russia’s Academy of Sciences has revealed that the asteroid is travelling at a staggering speed of nearly 76,000 kilometers per hour.
As the name suggests, this asteroid was discovered in 1989 by astronomer Eleanor Helin from the California-based Palomar Observatory. Scientists say that this is the biggest asteroid to closely flyby the Earth this year and it belongs to the class of Apollo asteroids whose orbit crosses the orbit of our planet. Notably, this asteroid measures 1.8 kilometers in diameter and its next fly will occur no earlier than June 23, 2055.
This asteroid is one of more than 29,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs) that NASA tracks each year. NEOs refers to any astronomical object that passes within about 30 million miles (48 million km) of Earth’s orbit, according to NASA. A majority of these objects are extremely small; 7335 (1989 JA) measures larger than about 99% of NEOs that NASA follows.
7335 (1989 JA) also fits into a class of asteroids called the Apollo class — which refers to asteroids that orbit the sun while periodically crossing Earth’s orbit. Astronomers know of about 15,000 such asteroids.
Object name ☄️: 162882 (2001 FD58)— Near-Earth Objects (@ws_neo) May 25, 2022
Is potentially hazardous 😱
Close approach date 🗓️: 2022-May-31 04:33
Estimated diameter 📏: 477.04 to 1066.69 meters
Relative velocity: 115776.80 km/h
NASA monitors NEOs like this one closely and recently launched a mission to test whether potentially hazardous asteroids could one day be deflected from a collision course with Earth. In November 2021, NASA launched a spacecraft called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which will collide head-on into the 525-foot-wide (160 meters) Dimorphos asteroid in autumn 2022. The collision won’t destroy the asteroid, but it may change the rock’s orbital path slightly.