A 'potentially hazardous' asteroid will whiz past earth at 49,000 km/hr on Friday

A 'potentially hazardous' asteroid will whiz past earth at 49,000 km/hr on Friday
Asteroid 2019 GT3, spotted in April, will fly past Earth on Friday 6 September 2019Needpix
  • Asteroid 2019 GT3 is going to fly past Earth on Friday at a speed of 49,000 kilometers.
  • The asteroid is about as big as a football stadium.
  • It's not on a collision course for Earth but is still one of the asteroids classified as 'potentially hazardous' by the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA).
The Earth is under constant threat of asteroids but most fly past and don't actually hit the planet. Asteroid 2019 GT3 is one such asteroid that is 'potentially hazardous' but will be at least 7.5 million kilometers away from the Earth.

Asteroid 2019 GT3 is a new addition to the NASA's Asteroid Watch only discovered earlier this year in April 2019. It's about as big as a stadium with a diameter between 170 meters and 380 meters.

When it blasts past Earth on 6 September 2019, it will be flying at a speed of 49,000 kilometers per hour.

"Potentially hazardous asteroids are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid's potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth," states the Center for Near Earth Object Studies

"Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance of 0.5 [astronomical units] or less and an absolute magnitude of 22.0 or less are considered PHAs," it added.


Asteroid's 'potential' for destruction

There's no chance of Asteroid 2019 GT3 striking Earth. Even if it were to somehow be on a collision course for the planet, the asteroid wouldn't cause any kind of 'mass extinction' but it would definitely take out a small city.

Scientists believe that an asteroid impact would result in a 'nuclear'-like winter on the planet.

It would only take an asteroid as big as a house travelling at 48,000 kilometers an hour to have an impact equivalent to that of the Hiroshima bomb blast.

By that comparison, Asteroid 2019 GT3 is bigger and faster.

And, it's even more concerning in light of even more massive asteroids that are planned to come uncomfortably close to Earth in the near future. 1992 OR2, for instance, is half the size of Everest and will only be 6.4 million kilometers from Earth as it flies by on 29 April 2020.

See also:
The 10 biggest asteroids that could crash into Earth in 2019

The last major asteroid to hit Earth destroyed 500 square kilometers — and it could have been much worse

It might not be 'dinosaur destroying' but it's only a matter of time before an asteroid hits Earth