According to reports from NASA, an asteroid nearly as long as the Great Pyramid of Giza is tall, will hurl its way towards Earth on Sunday, July 25.
However, the giant space rock poses no threat to the planet. NASA is currently monitoring the rock to learn more about the early solar system. They’re also studying it because, if the asteroid’s orbits were to change paths, the asteroid could pose a potential risk to the planet.
The asteroid, dubbed 2008 GO20, will come within 2.8 million miles of Earth on its nearest approach. It will be coming in hot at a whopping 18,000 mph, according to reports.
NASA estimates that flying rock to be anywhere from 318 to 720 feet across. Any asteroid larger than about 490 feet across that is expected to contact Earth within 4.6 million miles is considered a potentially dangerous asteroid. For comparison, that distance is 19.5 times the span between our planet and the moon.
However, that distance pales in comparison to the closest known asteroid to have come close to Earth. That moment came on August 16, 2020. On that day, 2020 QG flew just 1,830 miles above the Indian Ocean, Live Science sister site Space.com reported.
NASA Reports Approaching Asteroid Poses No Threat To Earth
Yet, according to NASA, this asteroid is “potentially hazardous.” As time goes on, the gravitational pull of the planets might change the flying rock’s orbital path, meaning it could cross into Earth’s orbit. Per NASA’s reports, a future collision with our world might be possible if that were to happen.
In addition, this isn’t the first time this specific asteroid has visited Earth’s domain. According to NASA’s records, it made its closest approach on August 4, 1901. At the time, the asteroid was within 806,856 miles of our planet.
Following that instance, Earth had another close call when it flew by on July 31, 1935. It was reported to be within 1.15 million miles of Earth.
Some good news: this asteroid isn’t expected to be in our orbit until July 24, 2034. On that day, 2008 GO20 will get as close as 3.1 million miles.
Asteroids orbit the sun and mostly live in the asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter’s orbit. Asteroids are made of various rocks left over from the solar system’s formation 4.5 billion years ago.
This past March, Apophis, an asteroid nearly the size of three football fields, passed by Earth. It was approximately 10.4 million miles away from Earth and almost 44 times as far away as the moon.
Asteroid Apophis is set to make another appearance close to Earth on April 13, 2029. Initial reports indicated a slight possibility the asteroid could impact Earth in 2029. It earned the nickname “God of Chaos” as a result.
NASA has since said the planet is safe from the asteroid for the next century.