'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid 1989 JA
Several asteroids have come and gone since the beginning of 2022, but the one that's approaching Earth this week is the largest so far! Asteroid 1989 JA, estimated to be almost 2 kilometres wide or twice the size of the Burj Khalifa, will graze past our planet at a mere 40,24,182 kilometres. The object will be travelling at a stunning 47,232 kilometres per hour at the time of its closest approach on Friday, May 27. According to NASA, there exist nearly 29,000 near-Earth asteroids (that we know of), but the 1989 JA belongs to the elite group of 878 asteroids that are at least 3,280 feet wide.
The 1989 JA is similar to the Chelyabinsk asteroid that entered Earth's atmosphere in 2013 and wreaked havoc in six Russian cities, breaking windows, damaging buildings and resulting in mobile networks getting overloaded. While an asteroid this massive travelling at 17 times the speed of a bullet could undoubtedly inflict damage on Earth, officials have assured us that there is no need to panic. On Friday, 1989 JA will be around 4 million kilometres away from Earth, which is about ten times the distance between the Earth and the moon.
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