No other asteroid is going to get closer to Earth in the next decade than the one set to fly by on September 1

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  • Asteroid 11 ES4, which is approaching the Earth will be closer to the planet than even the Moon on September 1.
  • This will be the asteroid’s closest proximity to the planet till date.
  • The next asteroid who will get this close to Earth will only show up 12 years down the line
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Many asteroids come and go but most keep their distance from Earth as they fly past. Now one daring asteroid is set to come closer to the planet — closer than even the Moon on September 1.

Officially recognized as Asteroid 11 ES4, the space rock will be a mere 121,000 kilometers (kms) from Earth as it shoots past the planet next week. The moon, on the other hand, is three times further away at 384,400 kms.

In fact, Asteroid 11 ES 4 will be the only near-Earth object to venture in this close for another decade. Only in 2032 will another asteroid — 2008 DB — come within the same distance of Earth.

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Not only is this a milestone for the planet, but it’s also the asteroid’s closest encounter to Earth till date. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) database shows that the asteroid has made eight close approaches since 1987 but none as intimate as next week.

Before its fly by next week, Asteroid 11 ES 4’s closest approach to Earth was on 13 March 2011, which is when it was first spotted by astronomers and catalogued.

Asteroid 11 ES 4’s closest approach
DateDistance from Earth
10 September 198720,368,150 kms
27 February 199439,115,642 kms
23 September 200465,568,944 kms
13 March 20114,268,643 kms
27 November 201155,565,337 kms
10 September 201226,499,097 kms
4 March 201922,653,322 kms
14 December 201955,773,685 kms

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The asteroid does not pose a threat to Earth. Even if it did, the space rock is only between 22 metres to 49 meters in diameter — approximately the size of a plane. If it were to break through Earth’s atmosphere, it would likely burn up on the way down.

As the asteroid makes its fly by, it will be travelling at 29,376 kms per hour.

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