Asteroid size of 747 set to fly past Earth on Halloween

Asteroid size of 747 set to fly past Earth on Halloween

An asteroid nearly the size of a Boeing 747 will safely fly past Earth on Halloween at 2:24 a.m. EST, experts note.

The massive space rock, known as 2020 UX3, is estimated to have a diameter between 88 and 196 feet, according to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Studies (CNEOS). For comparison purposes, the wingspan of a 747 is 225 feet long.

It will come within 3.2 million miles of Earth, traveling at roughly 36,000 miles per hour. Its size and its proximity to Earth make it a near-Earth object (NEO).

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“Potentially hazardous” NEOs are defined as space objects that come within 0.05 astronomical units and measure more than 460 feet in diameter, according to NASA. According to a 2018 report put together by Planetary.org, there are more than 18,000 NEOs.

NASA unveiled a 20-page plan in 2018 that details the steps the U.S. should take to be better prepared for NEOs, such as asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of the planet.

recent survey showed that Americans prefer a space program that focuses on potential asteroid impacts over sending humans back to the moon or to Mars.

An asteroid known as 2018VP1 will fly past Earth just before Election Day, NASA previously said. It is not considered “potentially hazardous” due to its small size.

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NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in April 2019 that an asteroid strike is not something to be taken lightly and is perhaps Earth’s biggest threat.

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