NASA tracks huge asteroid five-times the size of London Eye speeding towards Earth


NASA is tracking what is expected to be one of the largest asteroids to visit the Earth this year – and it’s set to make a “Near Earth Approach”By the end of the month

The massive space rock, dubbed 418135 (2008 AG33), is estimated to measure somewhere between 1,083 feet and 2,428 feet in diameter according to observations from CNEOS – NASA’s centre for computing asteroid and comet orbits.

NASA’s most accurate estimate is that the rock would be five times larger than the 443-foot London Eye. It would also be taller and wider than the Eiffel Tower, even at the lower end.

The rock is many times bigger than the London Eye
The London Eye is a lot bigger than the rock.

This size would have devastating effects on the Earth. However, it will pass close to us at around two million miles.

A close shave as far as astronomers are concerned – but nothing to worry about for the rest of us.

This is a good thing, as we don’t have any means to defend ourselves against an attack. “city killer” asteroid.

2008 AG33 will be traveling at an astonishing 23,200 miles an hour at the moment it is closest to Earth. This is over ten times faster then a speeding bullet.

Even though the asteroid is expected to pass us by with out incident on this occasion it’s still on NASA’s list of “potentially hazardous objects” because it’s more than 450 feet across and its orbit brings it within 4.6 million miles of the Earth.

A direct hit from 2008 AG33 could end civilisation as we know it
The direct impact of 2008 AG33 could bring an end to civilisation as we know.

CNEOS director Paul Chodas explained to Newsweek that while none of the known potentially hazardous objects are currently on a collision course with our planet, their paths ”come close enough to Earth’s that it is possible over many centuries and millennia they might evolve into Earth-crossing orbits.

“So it is prudent to keep tracking these asteroids for decades to come,” he said, “to study how their orbits might be evolving.”

SpaceX entrepreneur Elon Musk has said that the danger of a colossal asteroid impact wiping out civilisation is one good reason why we should colonise Mars.

NASA keeps tabs on any potentially dangerous asteroids in case one of them shifts onto a collision course with Earth
NASA keeps track of any potentially dangerous asteroids so that Earth is not in danger.

In an interview with TED talk boss Chris Anderson, Musk explained that he’s deliberately keeping the price of the one-way trip low: “We want to make it available for anyone who wants to go”He spoke of Mars.

Musk warns, though, that even after paying some £76,000 the first Mars colonists will have to rough it. “It will not be luxurious,”He says.

It will take place on Mars’ first city. “dangerous, cramped, difficult, hard work”.

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