Massive Asteroid Approaching Earth At 44,172 Km/h; Should You Worry?


NASA says a massive asteroid will skim past the Earth just before Christmas. The asteroid is believed to be nearly twice as large as the Empire State Building in New York. Dubbed as 216258 (2006 WH1), the large asteroid will pass by our planet on December 26. The cosmic object is estimated to measure around 240-540 meters in diameter.

Massive Asteroid Approaching Earth; Should You Worry?


Asteroids flying by the Earth is a common cosmic event. Some are hardly noticeable while some are detected by NASA's NEO (near-Earth object) tracker. This massive asteroid 2006 WH1 was spotted by the tracker because of its sheer size. NASA says that the flyby will occur a day after Christmas, on December 26. The asteroid is believed to be traveling at a speed of 44,172 km/h.

NASA says the asteroid will be roughly 3.6 million miles away from the Earth, which is actually a close approach to the planet. However, it is extremely unlikely that the asteroid will impact the Earth during the flyby. At the same time, NASA notes that its near-Earth object catalog isn't complete, indicating that an unpredicted asteroid impact could occur 'anytime'.

NASA is estimating the impact of an object as massive as this asteroid - it could be as large as the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 - approximately 17 meters in size. NASA further stresses the incompleteness of the NEO catalog and it could have an unpredicted impact like the Chelyabinsk event again this year.

Such huge asteroids impacting the Earth takes place once or twice in a century, the space agency says. "Impacts of larger objects are expected to be far less frequent (on the scale of centuries to millennia)," the agency says. Yet, considering the distance between the Earth and the asteroid, it is very unlikely to have an impact on the Earth.

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