An asteroid the size of the world’s tallest building will make one of its closest approaches to Earth. According to NASA, the asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) will pass by on January 18.
The asteroid is estimated to be 1 kilometer across, or more than 3,280 feet tall — more than twice the height of New York’s Empire State Building, which is 1,454 feet tall from base to antenna, and hundreds of feet taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, which is 2,716.5 feet tall.
According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the space body might come within 1,231,184 miles of Earth. This would be the asteroid’s closest approach to Earth since January 17, 1933, when NASA predicted it came within 700,000 miles of the globe.
As per NASA’s report, the asteroid will pass by Earth again in July this year, but at a far greater distance. It is not expected to sail by Earth again at such a near distance until January 18, 2105, when it is expected to reach within 1,445,804 miles.
The space agency has been tracking this asteroid since it was found in August 1994, and it has been designated as an Apollo asteroid, which means its orbit overlaps that of Earth and has somewhat greater axes. According to NASA, it is also designated as “possibly dangerous” because of its “potential to conduct threatening near encounters to the Earth.”
There are over a million known asteroids, and it is not unusual for many of them to pass close to Earth, with the vast majority of those that do being of little significance. According to NASA, at least five asteroids will pass past the earth on Wednesday and Thursday this week, including one the size of a bus and three the size of a home.
According to Nancy Chabot, a chief planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, there are roughly 25,000 near-Earth asteroids at least 500 feet broad that may be “devastating” if they collide with Earth.
“We’re actually not talking, like, global extinction event, but regional devastation on the area that could wipe out a city or even a small state,” she previously stated. “And so it is a real concern. It is a real threat.”
And, in the event that an asteroid emergency such as the one shown in Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up” occurs in the future, NASA is already working on a solution. NASA launched a spacecraft in November that will collide head-on with a minor asteroid next September as part of a test to see if it is feasible to force a future asteroid off course if it looks that it will collide with the earth.
At 15,000 miles per hour, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, will crash with Dimorphos, a 525-foot-wide body.