An asteroid with an estimated width of one kilometer will pass within 1.2 million miles of Earth on January 18, moving at 47,344 mph.
According to NASA’s Near-Earth Object Survey Center, which tracks potentially dangerous comets and asteroids that could collide with our planet, the approaching asteroid is known as 7482 (1994 PC1) and was discovered in 1994.
NASA does not expect 7482 (1994 PC1) to collide with Earth, but this is the closest the asteroid will come in the next two centuries. The flyby will take place on Tuesday, January 18 at 4:51 p.m. ET.
This, however, will not be the largest asteroid ever to pass by Earth. That spot goes to asteroid 3122 Florence (1981 ET3), which did not collide with Earth on September 1, 2017.
How to see the asteroid?
The asteroid, which is between 2.5 and 5.5 miles wide, will pass by again on September 2, 2057. The 7482 (1994 PC1) is unlikely to be visible to the naked eye.
NASA launched a mission to deliberately smash a spacecraft into an asteroid as a test run to stop a giant space rock from wiping out life on Earth. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) blasted off at 10:21pm Pacific Time on November 24, 2021, aboard a SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
“What we’re trying to learn is how to deflect a threat,” NASA’s top scientist Thomas Zuburchen said ahead of the launch.
The most recent asteroid to hit the planet was eight years ago in Russia which exploded in the atmosphere.
Near-Earth objects are asteroids and comets with orbits that place them within 48 million kilometers of Earth.