NASA has issued an alert that a “potentially hazardous asteroid” is on a “close approach” toward Earth. The enormous space rock, known as asteroid 2016 NF23 and estimated to be between 230 and 525 feet in diameter, will zip past Earth on Aug. 29 at a velocity of 9.04 kilometers per second, or approximately 20,000 miles per hour, the government space agency said on its Earth Close Approaches page.
But the space agency said there is nothing to be afraid of as the asteroid is heading past the planet at approximately 3 million miles away. As per Lindley Johnson who is planetary defense officer at NASA’s Headquarters in Washington, the asteroid wings it within five million miles of Earth’s orbit but that doesn’t mean its risky for our planet. He even ensured that there’s nothing to worry about.
At 230 feet, it would be slightly smaller than a Boeing 747. At the high-end of the estimate, 525 feet, it would be taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is approximately 455 feet high. Near-Earth objects regularly fly by the planet, though “potentially hazardous objects” are ones that are less than 0.05 au (astronomical units) away from the planet or approximately 5 million miles.