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A “potentially dangerous” asteroid more than twice the size of the Empire State Building will come close to Earth

An asteroid that is wider than the tallest building in the world is ready to come to one of its closest encounters with Earth. NASA expects the asteroid, called 7482 (1994 PC1), to fly past on Tuesday.

The asteroid is estimated to measure about 1 kilometer, or more than 3,280 feet, across - a size that is more than twice as tall as the New York Empire State Building, which is 1,454 feet from base to antenna, and hundreds of feet more than Dubai The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, which is 2,716.5 feet high.

Asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1)'s closest approach to Earth will take place on January 18, 2022. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory believes that space can come within 1,231,184 miles from Earth. This would be the closest the asteroid has come to Earth since January 17, 1933, when NASA expected it to come within less than 700,000 miles of the planet.

It is also expected that the asteroid will pass Earth again in July this year, albeit at a much greater distance, NASA said. The next time it is expected to fly off Earth at such a short distance is first on January 18, 2105, when it is expected to arrive within 1,445,804 miles.

The Virtual Telescope Project will livestream the bypass on Tuesday from kl. 15 ET. The website says the asteroid will be "quite bright."

The space agency has been monitoring this particular asteroid since it was discovered in August 1994, and has classified it as an Apollo asteroid, meaning that its orbit crosses the Earth's orbit and has axes that are slightly larger. It is also classified as "potentially dangerous" for its "potential to come threateningly close to Earth," according to NASA.

There are more than a million known asteroids, and it is not uncommon for many to fly along the Earth, and the overwhelming majority not worrying much. On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, for example, there are at least five asteroids zooming along the planet, including one the size of a bus and three the size of a house, according to NASA.

However, there are about 25,000 terrestrial asteroids at least 500 feet wide that could be "destructive"if they crash into Earth, according to Nancy Chabot, chief planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory.

"We are not actually talking about a global extermination event, but regional devastation in the area that could wipe out a city or even a small state," she said earlier. "And so it's a real concern. It's a real threat."

And should an asteroid emergency occur in the future similar to Netflix's "Don't Look Up," NASA is already working on a solution. In November, the agency launched a study that will steered frontally into a small asteroid next fall as part of a test to see if it is possible to push a future asteroid off course if it looks like it will have a catastrophic collision with the planet.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, will collide with a 525-foot-wide body called Dimorphos at 15,000 miles per hour.


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