An Asteroid That Is Quadruple the Size of the Empire State Building Will Pass by Earth This Week
Earlier this year, an asteroid larger than the tallest building in the world passed by Earth, and now another—even bigger—one is slated to make a close approach to our planet this week. Officially named 7335 (1989 JA), the rock is four times the size of the Empire State Building, making it the largest asteroid to go past Earth this year.
Scheduled to arrive on May 27, 7335 (1989 JA) has been classified by NASA as "potentially hazardous" due to its enormous size. There's no need to worry, though: The mile-wide asteroid will miss our planet by about 2.5 million miles, traveling at 47,200 miles per hour—a rate faster than a speeding bullet. The rock won't make another close journey past Earth until June 23, 2055, when it will pass by much further away.
This rock fits into a class of asteroid called the Apollo-class, meaning it orbits the sun while occasionally crossing Earth's orbit, according to a report by Science Alert. Astronomers know of about 15,000 Apollo asteroids, including 7482 (1994 PC1), which passed by Earth in January 2022. The object was nearly 564 feet taller than the largest building on the planet, and grazed by Earth at a mere distance of 700,000 miles.
NASA monitors near-Earth objects like the one arriving in May closely, because, despite being at a safe distance from our planet, it could do a lot of damage if its orbit were to change. The space station even launched a recent mission to see whether potentially hazardous asteroids could be driven off a collision course with Earth one day.