NASA’s planetary defense specialists are warning of a close flyby due to take place on Thursday as an asteroid that’s larger than the Statue of Liberty enters Earth’s vicinity traveling at over 100,000kph.
The space rock, which is named 2020 WD5, was first discovered by asteroid trackers as recently as November 18. It measures between 96 and 210 meters in diameter, at the upper end, it would more than double the size of London’s Big Ben.
The asteroid will fly by our planet at an incredible speed of 109,548kph. Thankfully, it’s set to safely travel past at a distance of 6.5 million kilometers at 8:27pm GMT. However, experts say that the fact that we only had a two-week heads up on the object’s arrival is a cause for concern.
Indeed, as NASA explained previously, “Over long periods of time… the chances of the Earth being impacted are not negligible so some form of Near Earth Object insurance is warranted.”
In other eyebrow-raising developments, 2020 WD5 isn’t the only space rock shooting past the planet on Thursday. It is joined by the 32-meter 2020 VZ6, which came considerably closer to us, passing at just 349,000km earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, two more space rocks, 2020 WB4 and 2020 WP, will flank WD5’s close Earth flyby, though at equally safe distances of 582,000km and 3.3 million kilometers.
Closing out yet another strange week in 2020, one filled with multiple mysterious monoliths and the election of one Adolf Hitler in Namibia, will be the asteroid 2020 WS2, measuring 40 meters in diameter, which will pass our planet at 4.6 million kilometers on Friday.
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