NASA says asteroid twice the size of Big Ben is about to zip past Earth

NASA says the asteroid, dubbed 2009 BH2, will make a close approach with Earth on January 18, at around 14:29 GMT

    An asteroid that’s twice as big as London’s iconic Big Ben is set to zip past our planet this week, according to NASA .

    The asteroid , dubbed 2009 BH2, will make a close approach with Earth on January 18, at around 14:29 GMT.

    The space rock is estimated to be around 88 metres – 200 metres in diameter. At the higher end of that estimate, it suggests the asteroid could be twice the size of Big Ben!

    During Saturday’s passing, the asteroid will be around 2.8 million miles away from our planet. While this might sound far, it’s considered a ‘close approach by NASA.’

    2009 BH2 won’t be the only asteroid to pass our planet on Saturday – a second smaller space rock will pass Earth on January 18 at around 12:30 GMT.

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    This asteroid, called 2020 AH1, is significantly smaller, with an estimated diameter of 33 metres – 75 metres.

    Thankfully, the chances of either asteroid calling with our planet are extremely low.

    However, NASA hasn’t written off the chances of an asteroid collision in the near future.

    NASA discovers around 30 new ‘near-Earth objects’ (NEOs) every week, and at the start of 2019 had discovered a total of more than 19,000 objects.

    However, the space agency has warned its NEO catalogue isn’t complete, meaning an unpredicted impact could occur at ‘any time.’

    NASA explained: “Experts estimate that an impact of an object the size of the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 – approximately 55 feet (17 meters) in size – takes place once or twice a century.

    “Impacts of larger objects are expected to be far less frequent (on the scale of centuries to millennia).

    “However, given the current incompleteness of the NEO catalogue, an unpredicted impact – such as the Chelyabinsk event – could occur at any time.”


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