NASA Warns 'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid the Size of the Chrysler Building Will Pass Earth

Comet Neowise C/2020 F3 at misty sunrise.
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The asteroid is classified by NASA as hazardous because it is a near-Earth object that is larger than 492 feet.

A massive asteroid is expected to fly by Earth sometime Tuesday and NASA is calling it "potentially hazardous" due to the close proximity of its trajectory.

The asteroid known as 2021 KT1 is about 600 feet in width, which is the size of the Chrysler building in Manhattan or the Seattle Space Needle, according to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

But scientists urge that the public should not worry, adding that there is no possibility of the asteroid hitting Earth.

"No one should be overly concerned about an Earth impact of an asteroid or comet," NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies said. "The threat to any one person from auto accidents, disease, other natural disasters and a variety of other problems is much higher than the threat from NEOs." 

It will whiz near Earth at 40,000 mph and will get as close as 4.5 million miles away. The asteroid is classified by NASA as hazardous because it is a near-Earth object that is larger than 492 feet.

"Given several years warning time, existing technology could be used to deflect the threatening object away from Earth," NASA says. "The key point in this mitigation process is to find the threatening object years ahead of time so that an orderly international campaign can be mounted to send spacecraft to the threatening object."

Smaller asteroids the size of an airplane or a house are expected to pass by Earth during the first few days of the week, but none of them are considered hazardous. 

Asteroids, defined as "rocky fragments left over from the formation of the solar system" are typically supposed to orbit the sun but sometimes they stray from its orbital path due to the gravitational pull from planets.


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