NASA‘s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has reported that a “potentially hazardous” asteroid is headed in our general direction.
The asteroid, named 163373 (2002 PZ39), is bigger than the largest human-made building and moving towards us at 34,000 miles per hour.
NASA has reported that a “potentially hazardous” asteroid will come close to earth tomorrow, passing over the planet at about 6:05 EST.
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are defined “based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth,” says NASA.
NASA has warned that kilometer-sized asteroids can have catastrophic consequences if they collide with earth. The energy from the explosion would trigger a global nuclear winter that could last for years, and the harsh environmental changes caused by the asteroid’s impact could lead to mass extinction of species (including us!)
According to CNEOS, this current asteroid will pass over the planet on the 15th of February (tomorrow) at 6:05 am EST. However, extremely lucky for us, it will be a distance of around 3.6 million miles away – about 15 times the distance of our moon.
Still, it’s sobering to remember that the possibility of complete and sudden annihilation is always floating around out there in our big black backyard.
NASA has said this will be an opportunity to get the “best look at this asteroid ever.”