Huge ‘Potentially Hazardous Asteroid’ To Speed Past Earth Next Week

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images)

There’s a massive asteroid slated to pass by Earth next week, with others passing by this weekend as well, according to NASA. Asteroid 2022 RM4 is almost as large as the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s 2,716-foot-tall Burj Khalifa. The asteroid is just under that at 1,083 to 2,428 feet in diameter. It’s whizzing by Earth at 52,500 mph, 68 times the speed of light.

In terms of how close the asteroid is to Earth, it’s not too far, but it won’t really bother us at all. The asteroid is sailing by the Earth at six times the distance of Earth to the Moon. In space terms, that’s technically pretty close. But, really, it’s barely going to pass us by. The asteroid will be 1.43 million miles from Earth when it passes on Nov. 1.

2022 RM4 was discovered on Sept. 12 by astronomers at the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System in Haleakala, Hawaii. As classified by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it’s a near-Earth object, an Apollo-type object, and a “potentially hazardous asteroid.”

2022 RM4 is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid because it has an orbit larger than Earth’s around the sun and it crosses Earth’s path. 2022 RM4 orbits the sun every 1,397 days, occasionally crossing Earth’s orbit. Additionally, it will get close enough for astronomers to photograph it using high-powered telescopes.

Are you wondering if an asteroid is going to crash into Earth next week? Fear not. NASA has determined that we’re safe from an asteroid impact for the next 100 years.

What Other Asteroids Are Whizzing By Earth This Weekend?

According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, there are five other objects coming this way over the weekend. Today, Oct. 29, 2022 UO12 will come about 302,000 miles from Earth. This asteroid is about 23 feet in diameter, which NASA determines is about bus-sized. Next, 2004 UT1, at 57 feet in diameter, will come within 929,000 miles from Earth. It’s about house-sized.

Tomorrow, Oct. 30, asteroid 2022 UU8 comes within 362,000 miles and is also bus-sized at 29 feet in diameter. 2022 UR11 comes 1,120,000 miles near Earth, and is 30 feet in diameter. Finally, 2022 UW6 will come 2,700,000 miles near Earth, and is about airplane-sized at 93 feet in diameter.

As these asteroids are under 150 meters in diameter, they’re not classified as potentially hazardous. The terms near earth orbit (NEO) and potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) are pretty broad, scientifically speaking. They’re simply used so astronomers can have a database of objects. PHAs are categorized as objects that come within 4.6 million miles of Earth and are larger than 150 meters in diameter. That doesn’t mean they’re going to crash into Earth. But it is a classification.