It’s 13th, and what better way to mark the unluckiest day of the year than by dwelling on the news that an asteroid larger than the Empire State Building is hurtling towards earth.
But don’t go making your apocalypse plans just yet, as it turns out it’s going to be distant enough to not cause any actual harm.
Even so, the gigantic space rock – known as 388945 (2008 TZ3) – has been classified as a ‘Potentially Hazardous Asteroid’ due to its relative closeness as it passes our planet.
The US space agency is keeping an eye on the asteroid, among others, predicting that it’s set to make its closest approach on Sunday, 15 May.
Space experts further said the asteroid is approximately 1,608 feet high, standing taller than the Empire State Building’s 1,454 feet, and is comparable to the size of a football field. This isn’t the first time this particular rock’s passed the planet, as it orbits the sun every 732 days.
Two years ago, it passed Earth at a distance of around 2.75 million km, but it’s not predicted to get that close again until May 2163 – when we’ll all be long gone. If it did hit Earth in a Don’t Look Up scenario, it would undoubtedly cause devastation to the entire planet.
Now, again, we have nothing to fear from this mighty space giant – it’s only a relatively close encounter by interstellar standards and as such will pass at a distance of approximately 4 million km over the weekend. We know all this thanks to NASA’s CNEOS, which tracks near-earth objects so that astronomers are aware of close approaches and know when exactly they can be observed.
Paul Chodas, the director of the CNEOS at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, previously told ABC News: “Astronomically, these are coming close to the Earth.
“But in human terms, they are millions of miles away and can get no closer than millions of miles away.”
So I guess the only scary part of this news is the fact that 4 million km is considered down the road in space terms. Existential crisis = activated.