A colossal asteroid, roughly the size of the Rock of Gibraltar, is set to come within a hair’s breadth of the Earth today.
The 2,000 foot-wide rock known as 2014 JO25 will come within 1.1 million miles of the Earth which may sound like a vast distance to you and me but it’s actually less than five times the distance from Earth to the moon.
Thankfully NASA have already confirmed that despite the asteroid coming so close to the planet it will not hit us.
An astronomer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Dr. Amy Mainzer, told NBC:
The odds of an impact for asteroids are very low on ‘human timescales’. However, because the consequences could potentially be severe, it’s not something we should completely ignore.
According to Mainzer an asteroid this large only comes this close once in a decade and won’t happen again until 2027 when 1999 AN10 will pass the Earth at a distance of about 236,000 miles.
Dr. Mainzer’s warning that we can’t ignore astronomical bodies shouldn’t be taken lightly. Should an asteroid the size of 2014 JO25 hit the Earth, the impact could create a crater about ten kilometres wide.
We don’t know that much about 2014 JO25 aside from the fact it’s super shiny, about twice as reflective as the moon, and will be so bright in the sky that you’ll only need a small telescope to see it in the night sky.
2014 JO25 hasn’t passed so close to the planet for the last 400 years and reportedly won’t be this close again for another 500 years.
And in case you’re worried about future apocalyptic collisions NASA says it’s not aware of any asteroids that pose a risk of impact to the Earth over the next century.