It’s called Asteroid 2016 NF23, and it will pass by Earth on 29 August with a breathtaking speed of 9 km per seconds – beating the Concord aircraft’s top speed of 2,179 km/h.
According to NASA, the asteroid has a diameter of 230ft (70m) to 524ft (160m), which is larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. This is why the agency has placed the asteroid on the “Potentially Hazardous Asteroids” list, where all space rocks larger than 459 feet (140 m) in size are classified.
NASA also listed the Asteroid NF23 on the Near-Earth Orbit (NEO) Earth Close Approaches list.
The head of the Near-Earth Objects team at the European Space Agency (ESA), Dr. Detlef Koschny stated that not just large asteroids could threaten the world:
“If a 100-metre asteroid hit Earth, it would cause significant damage in an area the size of Germany, and even affect the surrounding region. But asteroids of this size don’t strike Earth very often. Maybe every 10,000 years on average.”
Considering that this asteroid is bigger than the one mentioned by Dr. Koschny, Asteroid 2016 NF23 would surely wipe out a country and kill millions of people.
Dodging the “Bullet”
The NASA warning comes with great news: the asteroid will pass at an approximately 13.4 times the distance between the Moon and Earth (4.8 million km).
The list with all dangerous asteroids and comets is filled with all space rocks that come at a close distance to Earth. Only in August, the agency spotted nine Near-Earth Orbit (NEO) asteroids passing by our planet.
The closest one was Asteroid 1998 SD9 will fly with NF23 on the same day, at just 4.22 lunar distances from our planet – or about a million miles (1.6 million km) distance. Asteroid 1998 SD9 measures approximately 124ft (38m) and 282ft (86m) in diameter.
After it skims past Earth, Asteroid NF23 will fly close to Venus and complete its journey around the Sun.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.