Asteroid the size of a bridge expected to pass by Earth, NASA says

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(NEW YORK) — A “potentially dangerous” asteroid the size of a bridge is expected to pass by Earth Monday, NASA said.

The asteroid — called 1994 XD — has a span of 1,500 feet, comparable to that of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, according to the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It even has its own satellite that circles it, which was discovered in 2005.

There is currently no danger of the asteroid hitting Earth, with the object passing the planet at a distance of about 1.9 million miles.

That’s roughly eight times the average distance between Earth and the moon but also about 20 times closer than Venus gets at its nearest to Earth.

Although it’s common for asteroids to make relatively close approaches, this is one of the bigger asteroids to do so. Because of its size, NASA has classified it as a “potentially hazardous object.”

1994 XD might be hard to see with the naked eye because it will be passing Earth at roughly 48,000 miles per hour, according to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

Near-Earth objects are entities such as asteroids and comets that orbit the sun like the planets do. This asteroid orbits the planet every 1,310 days, roughly equivalent to about three-and-a-half years.

The asteroid has made several close approaches to Earth in the past and is expected to make at least three more over the next three decades, according to spacereference.org.

1994 XD is not the only asteroid that will pass Earth this week. Two other asteroids, each roughly the size of an airplane, will also pass by Monday. Additionally, one the size of a bus and another the size of a building, will pass by Earth Tuesday.

As of June 1, NASA has discovered 10,472 asteroids that are larger than 460 feet, with an estimated 15,000 left to be found. Overall, 32,103 near-Earth asteroids of all sizes have been discovered.

Additionally, there have been seven asteroids over the last 30 days and 105 over the last 365 days that have passed closer to Earth than the moon, according to NASA.

Recently, NASA has taken steps to purposely stop asteroids in case of a future impact with Earth. In September, the agency performed its first planetary defense mission known as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, which involved colliding a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with an asteroid to adjust its speed and path.

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