Monster ASTEROID twice size of the Empire State Building to skim Earth at 14,400 mph in three weeks – and it’s ‘potentially hazardous’

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A MASSIVE asteroid that is twice the height of the Empire State Building is set to skim past Earth in less than a month, Nasa has warned.

The asteroid 2000 QW7 will whizz past our planet at 14,361 mph (23,100 km/h) on September 14, experts say.

Asteroid that is twice the height of the Empire State Building is set to skim past Earth in less than a month
Getty – Contributor

Asteroid that is twice the height of the Empire State Building is set to skim past Earth in less than a month[/caption]

The space rock measures up to 2,132ft (650 metres) in diameter, making it slightly smaller than the world’s tallest building – the 2,722ft-high Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) said the asteroid will be flying past us at a safe distance of 3.3 million miles.

Asteroids and other space materials are considered near-Earth objects if they pass within 1.3 astronomical units of our planet – or 92.9 million miles.

Space X and Tesla CEO Elon Musk pointed out on Twitter last week that Earth currently has no defence against ‘killer’ asteroids.

Replying to a Tweet about the asteroid Apophis, which will scrape past Earth in 2029, Musk pointed out that there is, currently, no defence system to protect our planet.

Musk said: “Wouldn’t worry about this particular one, but a big rock will hit Earth eventually & we currently have no defense.”

The doomsday space rock Apophis is named after the Egyptian god of chaos and darkness – and Nasa is worried it’s on a collision course with Earth.

The rogue space rock – which is taller than the Eiffel Tower – is expected to make several close passes to Earth this century, the most dangerous of which is in 2068.

A horrifying simulation shows exactly what will happen if Apophis hits Earth.

In the video, the initial impact in the Atlantic ocean between southwest of the US and north of South America.

YouTube / Space Sim

A simulation has revealed exactly what will happen if the doomsday asteroid Apophis hits Earth[/caption]

YouTube / Space Sim

The explosion will spread for thousands of miles, triggering a series of giant tsunamis[/caption]

A model of what Apophis may look like
Astronomical Institute of the Charles University

It triggers an explosion equivalent to 65,000 Hiroshima nuclear bombs.

In just a few hours, the resulting giant fireball and shockwave spreads as far as Kansas, nearly 2,500 miles away from the initial impact.

YouTube user Space Sim, who created the video, said debris from the blast would rain back on Earth as fiery asteroids.

“In this simulation the asteroid first hits and then sends fragments from the collision back into space,” they wrote in the video’s description.

“These orbited the Earth for a short period of time before coming back to Earth.”

Russian scientists fear Apophis, full name Apophis 99942, could smash into Earth at speeds of 15,000 miles per hour.

They say the deadly rock’s path around the sun means there are 100 “possible collisions between Apophis and the Earth, the most dangerous of them in 2068”.

However, it’s not time to panic just yet – Apophis has just a one-in-250,000 chance of actually colliding with our planet, according to Nasa.

“Apophis has been one of those celestial bodies that has captured the public’s interest since it was discovered in 2004,” said Nasa’s Steve Chesley.

“Updated computational techniques and newly available data indicate the probability of an Earth encounter on April 13, 2036, for Apophis has dropped from one-in-45,000 to about four-in-a million.”

The 370-meter-wide space rock was discovered in June 2017.

It was only spotted via a space telescope in Hawaii after it had sped by our planet, and could have caused chaos if it hit Earth.

Asteroid
Getty – Contributor

The 370-meter-wide space rock was discovered in June 2017[/caption]

It passed within just 548,000 miles of our planet, relatively close in space terms.

While the asteroid is not big enough to obliterate Earth, it could do some serious damage at the local level.

The huge space rock will whizz by in less than one-tenth of the distance between the Earth and the moon in 2029 — closer than some of our satellites.

And it’s sure to pass by Earth again, with scientists unsure as to how close its next flyby will come.

What's the difference between an asteroid, meteor and comet?

Here's what you need to know, according to Nasa…

  • Asteroid: An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun. Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) but they can be found anywhere (including in a path that can impact Earth)
  • Meteoroid: When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids
  • Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it begins to vapourise and then becomes a meteor. On Earth, it’ll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up
  • Meteorite: If a meteoroid doesn’t vapourise completely and survives the trip through Earth’s atmosphere, it can land on the Earth. At that point, it becomes a meteorite
  • Comet: Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun. However rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them (thanks to the ice and dust vapourising)

 

Alberto Cellino of the Astrophysical Observatory of Turin said: “We can rule out a collision at the next closest approach with the Earth, but then the orbit will change in a way that is not fully predictable just now, so we cannot predict the behaviour on a longer timescale.”

A leading astrophysicist from Queen’s University Belfast reckons an asteroid strike is just a matter of time.

In 1908 a small asteroid exploded over Tunguska in Siberia and devastated 800 square miles.


In other space news, diamonds as old as the Moon are being blasted to Earth’s surface by a ‘hidden lava reservoir’.

A lost planet in Solar System was gobbled up by Jupiter billions of years ago.

And, here’s a full list of the asteroids that could crash into Earth.

What do you think of the video? Let us know in the comments…

Getty – Contributor

A computer simulation of how a very large asteroid impact might look[/caption]


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