Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

AJ129: 'Potentially hazardous' huge asteroid is heading in our direction

AJ129: 'Potentially hazardous' huge asteroid is heading in our direction

For comparision, the distance between the Earth and the moon is 384,400 km. The name of the asteroid is 2002 AJ129, and NASA has classified it as a "potentially hazardous" asteroid.

The asteroid is one of the most massive space rocks anticipated to skim past Earth this year. This superfast speed is nearly fifteen times faster than the world's fastest manned aircraft, the hypersonic North American X-15, which traveled at a speed of nearly 4,520 miles per hour.

The close flyby speed of the asteroid is estimated to be around 67,000mph (107,826kmh). The 2002 AJ129 asteroid will be the largest space rock to pass our planet since on record.

It's important to preface this article by stating that a "potentially hazardous" classification by NASA does not necessarily mean that these bodies pose an imminent threat to us here on Earth.

Previous research has suggested that if an asteroid of this size crashed into the Earth, so much material would be thrown up into the atmosphere that it would block out the sun for years to come, causing temperatures to drop worldwide and trigger a mini ice age. If that big sized asteroid manages to fall on land then it will flatten everything that comes in its way and also if it falls on Oceans, then huge tsunamis will occur.

At a distance of around 2,615,128 miles (4,208,641km) away - which is relatively close in space terms, asteroid named 2002 AJ129 will past our planet.

A giant asteroid is about two weeks away from Earth, and scientists at Nasa say it's trajectory is just a little too close for comfort.

They hope to gain more insight on asteroid characteristics such as the size, shape, what they look like on the inside, and how quickly they rotate, through radar astronomy.

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