Several asteroids larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza will pass closely across Earth in the coming weeks, including one this week.
Based on data from NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object StudiesThe asteroid 2021 SM3, which was discovered last month, will pass our planet on Friday. The asteroid can be up to 525 feet in diameter, slightly larger than the 482-foot Great Pyramid of Giza. An object of this size would be enough to “cause local area-of-effect damage” if it were to hit Earth.
2021 SM3 is classified as a Near Earth Object NASA says “Comets and asteroids that have been gravitationally pushed into orbit by neighboring planets, allowing them to enter Earth’s vicinity.” Objects are everything within 120 million kilometers of Earth.
At its closest, the asteroid will be about 3.6 million kilometers from Earth. Although this distance seems safe, it is much closer than our neighboring planet Venus, which can reach 74.8 million kilometers depending on the orbit of each planet.
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2021 SM3 won’t be the only large asteroid to pass through Earth soon. Seven asteroids larger than SM3 will approach our planet by the end of November.
Of all the asteroids that have recently approached, 1996 VB3 will be closest to Earth at 2.1 million miles away on October 20. This asteroid has a diameter of 754 feet.
The largest asteroid in the next few weeks is EU 2004, which is 1,246 feet in diameter, a few feet smaller than the Empire State Building. The European Union of 2004 will be 2.6 million kilometers from Earth on November 13.
There are thousands of NEOs in our solar system – 27,024 to be exact. Of these, 9,856 feet are at least 459 feet long, and 890 feet are 3,280 feet or more.
The largest asteroid that passed near Earth this year was in March, when Asteroid 2001 FO32, estimated to be 3000 feet wide1.2 million km from Earth.
The asteroid Apophis, named after the god of chaos and smaller than the European Union of 2004, made headlines this year for its potential to hit Earth. Scientists have determined that it will not reach the planet in the next 100 years, but will be within 20,000 miles of Earth on April 13, 2029.
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