An Empire State-sized asteroid will pass close to Earth on Saturday

Another asteroid will fly at a distance close to planet Earth tomorrow, Saturday.

It is a body that scientists say is “bigger than the Empire State Building,” which is nearly 1,500 feet tall. Although the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) classified it as “potentially dangerous” because of its close proximity to our planet, scientists believe that it is not large enough to be considered a threat.

Asteroid 163348 (2002 NN4) will pass 5 million kilometers from the planet and will travel at a speed of 11,146 kilometers per hour. The exact date on which it will pass with some proximity to our planet will be this Saturday, as reported by Tech Times through the Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects, belonging to NASA.

It is an asteroid larger than 90% of the bodies that have come close to Earth so far, which are generally the size of a soccer field. Due to its trajectory and its size, NASA classified 163348 (2002 NN4) as “potentially dangerous”.

“163348 (2002 NN4) is an asteroid whose orbit could bring it closer to Earth,” said the report. At the moment, 2002 NN4 is known to orbit around the sun every 300 days (0.82 years) and complete one rotation about its axis every 14.50 days.

Scientists predict many asteroid “approaches” to Earth in the future. While there are around 30 forecasts at the moment, 2002 NN4’s near-Earth pass is relatively special as it will only return later in nine years.

According to the trajectory of their orbits, there are three types of objects that can approach Earth: the Love, the Apollo, and the Aton asteroids. The Atons, like the 163348 (2002 NN4), have an orbit with a semi-major axis shorter than that of Earth (an astronomical unit, that is, the average distance between our planet and the sun).


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