Huge 2,400ft-wide ‘Halloween asteroid’ to make ‘close pass’ to Earth next week at 52,000mph

 

AN ASTEROID double the size of the Empire State Building is expected to zip past Earth next week .The massive rock, dubbed by experts as 2022 RM4, has been deemed “potentially hazardous” due to the close encounter its projected to make.

But don’t panic, it’s not expected to hit Earth at all.

In fact, scientists believe it’ll be a good 2,297,173km away from us.

That’s actually about six times the distance from Earth to the Moon.

In space terms this is pretty close but by no means anything to worry about.

The newly discovered asteroid could be as big as 740 meters, which is just under two times the size of the Empire State Building (excluding the tip).

That would make it not far off the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is 828 meters high.

The asteroid is set to greet us just after Halloween, on November 1.

“No danger, but newly-discovered asteroid 2022 RM4 will pass less than 6 lunar distances on November 1,” said amateur astronomer Tony Dunn.

“Possibly as wide as 740 meters, it will brighten to mag 14.3, well within reach of backyard telescopes.

“This is very close for an asteroid this size.”

Nasa has actually began preparing for dangerous asteroids in case one heads straight into Earth in the future.

In September, the space agency deliberately smashed a spacecraft into an asteroid 11million miles as part of a major test.

It was Nasa’s first planetary defense test and is just the beginning as the agency will use the information to see if the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission actually changed the asteroid’s orbit.

In future, Nasa may employ similar missions to deflect incoming asteroids that threaten our planet.

Nasa administrator Bill Nelson hailed the mission, calling the project a “giant step in planetary defense.”

DART was aimed at changing the orbit of its target, Dimorphos, a moonlet that orbits the asteroid Didymos.

The scheme mirrors the plot of the 1998 blockbuster flick “Armageddon” in which Nasa flies a spacecraft to an asteroid to stop it from hitting Earth.

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