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Huge asteroid to zoom past Earth this week

Washington, May 25, 2022- A “potentially hazardous” enormous asteroid that is more than a mile long will zoom past Earth on May 27, according to NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies

The asteroid named 1989 JA is estimated to be 1.1 miles long, or 5,905 feet, USA Today reported.

While there are nearly 29,000 near-Earth asteroids in space, 1989 JA is one of 878 that are at least 3,280 feet wide, NASA said, adding that the massive space rock poses no risk to the planet.

When 1989 JA makes its closest approach to Earth this week, it will be 2.5 million miles away, or about 10 times the distance to the moon and the closest it has ever been to Earth.

The asteroid is labelled “potentially hazardous” because it is an Apollo asteroid, meaning it crosses Earth’s orbit, the report said.

Franck Marchis, chief scientific officer of the telescope company Unistellar and senior planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute, told USA TODAY the asteroid is travelling about 30,000 mph.

“To provide some context, that is 17 times the speed of a bullet through the air. At this speed, the asteroid could travel around the planet Earth in 45 minutes,” Marchis was quoted as saying.

The asteroid was discovered in 1989 by astronomer Eleanor Helin at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California.

This week will also mark the closest the asteroid gets to Earth in the next 172 years, NASA said.

Meanwhile, NASA is preparing to deflect asteroids that may hit the planet one day. The agency recently launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, with the goal of testing to see if it is possible to knock an asteroid off its path.  (Agency)

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