It is the largest building in the world, but Dubai’s Burj Khalifa can be shrunk by a huge asteroid that is scheduled to fly beyond our planet this week.
It is estimated that the asteroid, nicknamed 52768 (1998 OR2), measures between 1.8 km – 4.1 km in diameter. At the highest end of that estimate, it suggests that the asteroid could be up to five times the size of the Burj Khalifa!
According NASA, the space rock will make its closest approach to Earth around 10:56 GMT on Wednesday, April 29, when it will be about 6.3 million kilometers from Earth.
While this may seem distant, it is classified as a "rough approach" by NASA.
During Wednesday's passage, the asteroid will be traveling at an impressive speed of 19,438 miles / hour – about 9.5 times faster than a bullet!
NASA tweeted: “The 1998 OR2 asteroid will safely pass Earth at a distance of 6.9 million miles / 6.2 million km on April 29.
“Astronomers studying the # asteroid with radar are also keeping a safe distance – from each other! Just another day for the defense of the planet.
If you want to watch Wednesday's passage, the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome will host a free online public viewing of the asteroid on April 29, 2020, so you can watch it. on here.
Fortunately, the chances of a huge asteroid hitting Earth are extremely low.
However, NASA has not ruled out the chances of an asteroid collision in the near future.
NASA discovers about 30 new & # 39; objects close to Earth & # 39; (NEOs) every week and, in early 2019, had discovered a total of more than 19,000 objects.
However, the space agency warned that its NEO catalog is not complete, meaning that an unpredictable impact could occur at any time.
NASA explained: “Experts estimate that the impact of an object the size of the one that exploded in Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 – approximately 17 meters in size – occurs once or twice a century.
“The impacts of larger objects are likely to be much less frequent (on the scale of centuries to millennia).
"However, given the current incompleteness of the NEO catalog, an unpredictable impact – like the Chelyabinsk event – can occur at any time."