NASA is staying tuned for a huge space rock that is three times the size of a blue whale and it’s about to skim past Earth.
NASA is staying tuned for a huge space rock that’s three times the size of a blue whale and it’s about to skim past Earth.
Asteroid 2021 GT2 is passing close enough to make it on NASA’s Earth Close Approaches tables,The Sun reports.
The space agency estimates that the asteroid is between 36 and 82 meters wide.
In comparison, the average blue whale is around 21 meters long.
An asteroid of this size would cause some serious damage if it hit Earth.
Although NASA flagged the space rock as a close approach, Asteroid 2021 GT2 is set to pass the Earth at a safe 3.5 million km threshold.
If an asteroid comes within 7.4 million km of Earth and is over a certain size, it’s considered “potentially hazardous” by cautious space agencies.
Asteroid 2021 GT2 fits this NASA guideline.
The huge asteroid is expected to fly past on June 6.
The closest approach is expected at around 5:35am BST or 12:35 ET.
The asteroid is expected to have another close approach in 2034. It will pass within 14 million km which is significantly farther away than next week’s orbit.
How NASA protects against asteroids
Scientists want to prepare if an asteroid suddenly changes its trajectory, Live Science reported.
NASA Is in the midst of testing whether or not a large asteroid could be knocked off course by crashing a rocket into it.
The space agency recently launched an asteroid-deflecting spacecraft in November of last year.
This spacecraft will hit the 161-metre-wide Dimorphos asteroid at some point in 2022.
NASA will not destroy the asteroid, but they want to see if the space rock’s orbit will change slightly.
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission