Don’t freak out. The experts say we will be just fine when a giant asteroid — possibly as big as the Empire State Building — zips toward our planet this weekend.
It’s one of several “near-Earth” asteroids that travel across our tiny sliver of the universe every month, and most are totally harmless.
“It may seem daunting, but the asteroid will pass Earth at a safe distance, more than 3 million miles away, or 13 times farther from us than the moon,” notes ABC7 in Los Angeles. “There are 20,000 asteroid flybys each year, but most pass unnoticed.”
The June asteroid that’s generating a lot of buzz on social media is technically known as Asteroid 2002 NN4, and it’s expected to make its closest approach to our planet at 3:20 a.m. universal time on Saturday — or 11:20 p.m. Eastern time on Friday.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory estimates its size at 820 to 1,870 feet in diameter.
By comparison, the Empire State Building is 1,454 feet tall, including its tip. New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium is 910 feet long by 740 feet wide.
“While it is unlikely for an asteroid to hit Earth anytime soon, scientists have prepared just in case,” CBS News notes. “Scientists from around the world gathered at a 2019 conference and discussed how to respond to an asteroid big enough to destroy a major city.”
One NASA expert has this reassuring message to us Earthlings: “All we have to do is change its speed a little faster or a little slower so that when it crosses Earth’s orbit, it crosses either in front of us or behind us.”