According to the space agency, the celestial body named 2021 KT1 belongs to the category of potentially hazardous asteroids, meaning its size is big enough to cause significant damage to our planet in the event of a collision.
An asteroid bigger than the Eiffel tower will fly close to Earth next week, NASA has said. Researchers estimate 2021 KT1 to be between 492 and 1,082 feet. It is travelling at an extreme speed of 40,000 miles per hour. NASA says the celestial body will whizz past our planet at a distance of 4.5 million miles, which is nearly 19 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
Still, the space agency has categorised 2021 KT1 as a potentially hazardous asteroid. NASA monitors around 26,000 near-Earth objects, whose orbits bring them into close proximity with our planet. Every 10,000 years an asteroid larger than 100 metres is expected to reach the Earth’s surface and cause major destruction or produce tidal waves that can inundate low lying coastal areas.
Despite the gloomy forecast, NASA says the threat to any person from an asteroid is much smaller than “from auto accidents, disease, other natural disasters, and a variety of other problems”. NASA is currently working on a project called DART that will help it deflect potentially dangerous asteroids. During the space mission, scheduled to take place in 2022, the space agency will crash a probe into a double asteroid, Didymos.
However, a recent study revealed that NASA’s attempts to protect our planet from potential asteroid collision will be futile.