It has been labelled “potentially hazardous” due to its proximity to our planet during its fly-by. The space rock, identified as 2019 UR2, is estimated to have a width of 220 metres (722 feet). That’s bigger than Wembley Stadium.
The 2019 UR2 is expected to come closest to Earth next Monday, November 18, whisking within 0.046 astronomical units (4,275,967 miles) above our home planet.
It will skim past at a startling speed of 48,240 kilometres per hour (29,974 miles per hour), or around 38 times the speed of sound.
The space rock belongs to the group of Apollo asteroids, which are Earth-orbit crossing and potentially hazardous.
2019 UR2’s projected trajectory shows there is hardly any chance of a collision within the next few centuries – which is quite good.
A huge rock of this size and hurtling through the cosmos at this speed could devastate vast areas of the planet.
It could destroy a metropolis or cause a tsunami if it landed in the ocean.
According to the CNEOS “all asteroids with an orbital inclination of at least 0.05 astronomical units or less and an absolute magnitude of 22 or less are considered potentially dangerous”.
Astronomical units are used as a rough measure of the distance between Earth and the Sun.
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An asteroid strike on Earth from a large rock could cause carnage.
In response authorities spend considerable resources tracking known asteroids and searching for new ones.
The Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, which wiped out the dinosaurs, is believed by many scientists to have been caused by an asteroid impact.
With the exception of some ectothermic species such as the leatherback sea turtle and crocodiles, no tetrapods weighing more than 25 kilograms (55lb) survived.
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It marked the end of the Cretaceous period and with it, the entire Mesozoic Era, opening the Cenozoic Era that continues today.
As a result there are fears a new strike could prove equally devastating.
NASA tracks major asteroids in the vicinity of Earth to check whether they are likely to collide and cause damage.
Worryingly, NASA recently admitted it only identified an asteroid, 2019 MO, hours before it crashed into Earth.
2019 MO, temporarily designated A10eoM1, was a small, harmless 3-meter near-Earth asteroid discovered by ATLAS–MLO that impacted Earth’s atmosphere on 22 June 2019.
The small asteroid burned up in the atmosphere above the Caribbean.
2019 MO was approximately 300,000 from Earth when it was identified by NASA.
This is further away from our planet than the Moon.
The few other asteroids discovered just before impacting are 2008 TC3, 2014 AA, and 2018 LA.
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