According to NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies, a “potentially hazardous” asteroid more than a mile long will pass Earth on May 27.
According to USA Today, the asteroid 1989 JA is 1.1 miles long, or 5,905 feet long.
While there are nearly 29,000 near-Earth asteroids in space, NASA says 1989 JA is one of 878 that are at least 3,280 feet wide, and it poses no threat to the planet.
1989 JA will be 2.5 million miles away when it makes its closest approach to Earth this week, or about ten times the distance to the moon and the closest it has ever been to Earth.
According to the report, the asteroid is labeled “potentially hazardous” because it is an Apollo asteroid that crosses Earth’s orbit.
According to Franck Marchis, chief scientific officer of the telescope company Unistellar and senior planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute, the asteroid is traveling at approximately 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.
Eleanor Helin, an astronomer at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California, discovered the asteroid in 1989.
According to NASA, this week will be the asteroid’s closest approach to Earth in the next 172 years.
Meanwhile, NASA is preparing to deflect asteroids that may one day strike the planet. The agency recently launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, to see if it is possible to deflect an asteroid’s path.