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Giant Asteroid to Whizz by Earth at Close Range

asteroid earth
An asteroid will whizz past Earth on January 18. Credit: Public Domain

A giant asteroid is going to whizz past Earth at a speed of nearly 50,000 miles per hour on January 18.

The asteroid’s path is the closest to Earth that any space rock will make in the next 200 years. At one kilometer, or over half a mile, wide, the asteroid is massive – -but it is not a cause for alarm.

Known as 7482 (1994 PC1), the giant asteroid was first discovered in 1994.

Giant asteroid will not hit Earth

Although NASA confirms that an impact of an asteroid over 140 meters wide with the Earth would lead to major destruction, the asteroid that will pass by our planet this week is not on a collision course.

Even though it is considered to be very close to the Earth, in reality, the asteroid will be over 1.2 million miles from our planet when it passes us, a distance that is over five times that between the Earth and the Moon.

Those looking to catch a glimpse of the marvelous asteroid will likely be able to see it with just a simple telescope.

The asteroid is classified as a Near Earth Object, and NASA currently monitors around 25,000 of such NEOs.

While there is no threat of collision between the asteroid and Earth, NASA has been preparing technology to use in the case of a potential collision.

NASA’s DART mission, which launched in November of 2021, will make its arrival in late September of this year.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test -– abbreviated as DART -– involves sending a spacecraft out to the two asteroids known as the Didymos binary.

NASA will try to intentionally collide with the asteroids to see if they can be pushed off course.

The mission is not addressing any real threat those asteroids pose -– but rather testing NASA’s preparedness for any future asteroid that could be on the path to collide with Earth.

The Psyche asteroid

NASA has a mission slated for 2022 to explore a Greek-named asteroid called 16 Psyche that contains a double-edged sword. Made completely of metal, it boasts enough gold to either make every person on Earth a billionaire — or to collapse the gold market and destabilize the entire global financial world.

The heavenly body Psyche, which was discovered by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis on March 17, 1852, was named after the Greek goddess of the soul who was born a mortal but who married Eros, the god of Love.

Located between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter, Psyche is no average asteroid, which are most often made of rock and/or ice for the most part, but consists of solid metal.

Experts have estimated that the various metals she is made of are worth an eye-popping $10,000 quadrillion.

If all Psyche’s riches were somehow transported back to Earth, their worth would destroy commodity prices and therefore cause the world’s economy – worth at least $75.5 trillion – to collapse as a result.

NASA describes 16 Psyche as a giant metal asteroid, about three times farther away from the Sun than is the Earth. Its average diameter is about 140 miles (226 kilometers) – about one-sixteenth the diameter of Earth’s Moon or about the distance between Los Angeles and San Diego in the US.

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