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May 18, 2024  |  
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Heather Hunter


NextImg:Massive asteroid expected to pass close to Earth on Saturday

An airplane-sized asteroid is set to pass between the Earth and the Moon on Saturday afternoon at about 3:51 p.m. EST.

An enormous asteroid will pass between the orbits of the Earth and the Moon and will be visible through binoculars or a small telescope.

FILE - This undated image made available by NASA shows the asteroid Bennu from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/CSA/York/MDA via AP)

NASA SCIENTISTS BELIEVE DOOMSDAY ASTEROID IMPACTS MUCH MORE FREQUENT AND DESTRUCTIVE THAN PRIOR ESTIMATES

The asteroid, named 2023 DZ2, is large enough — it's estimated to be between 140 feet and 310 feet long — to take out an entire city and has been dubbed the "city killer." Fortunately, it is moving at a safe distance from the Earth.

NASA's Asteroid Watch says this kind of occurrence of an object this size and this close to Earth "happens only about once per decade."

Astronomers have established the International Asteroid Warning Network to coordinate worldwide responses to the threat of a potential "near-Earth" object.

NASA defines Near-Earth Objects as “comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighborhood.”

This photo provided by Gianluca Masi shows asteroid 2023 DZ2, indicated by arrow at center, about 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) away from the Earth on March 22, 2023. On Saturday, March 25, 2023, the asteroid, big enough to wipe out a city, will harmlessly zip between Earth and the moon. While asteroid flybys are common, NASA said it’s rare for one so big to come so close _ about once a decade. Scientists estimate its size somewhere between 140 feet and 310 feet. (42 meters and 94 meters). (Gianluca Masi/Virtual Telescope Project via AP)


NASA classifies this asteroid as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid" due to its proximity to the Earth.

Last week, NASA scientists revealed that the Earth could be at a higher risk of a mass-extinction asteroid impact than previously believed.

James Garvin, the Goddard Space Flight Center Chief Scientist, shared his team's findings that analyzed data from several Earth-observing satellites examining four asteroid-impacted craters.

They discovered that the Earth has been hit by more asteroids than previous scientists had found. The explosion of these asteroid impacts is believed to have been 10 times more powerful than the largest nuclear bomb in history, hence multiple mass extinctions on Earth.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who has been pioneering man's effort to build a colony on Mars, has frequently warned that in order for humanity to survive mass extinction, they must become a "multi-planetary species."

“The future of humanity is fundamentally going to bifurcate along one of two directions: Either we’re going to become a multiplanet species and a spacefaring civilization, or we’re going be stuck on one planet until some eventual extinction event,” Musk said.

Last August, the billionaire shared an article about the extinction of the dinosaurs after an asteroid hit present-day Mexico.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

“This will happen again – just a matter of time,” Musk tweeted.

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) confirmed in 2022 that their mission to have a spacecraft use kinetic impact to alter the orbit of the asteroid, Dimorphos, was successful. This achievement marked humanity’s first time purposely changing the motion of an asteroid through deflection technology.