ADDIS ABABA – A massive asteroid twice the size of the Burj Khalifa is set to pass by planet Earth on Friday, according to NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies.
NASA says there are nearly 29,000 near-Earth asteroids in space, but 1989 JA is one of 878 that are at least 1.8km wide.
The asteroid is heading towards our planet at a speed of around 13.12 kilometers per second, and will pass us Earth at a distance of over 4 million km away, as per NASA’s asteroid tracker.
“To provide some context, that is 17 times the speed of a bullet through the air. At this speed, the asteroid could travel around the planet Earth in 45 minutes,” Franck Marchis, a senior planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute, was quoted as saying by USA Today.
The asteroid was discovered in 1989 by astronomer Eleanor Helin at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California.
Mayr 27 will mark the closest the asteroid gets to Earth in the next 172 years, NASA projects.
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