The colossal space rock, baptized by NASA's Asteroid 2019 GM4, races through space on an Earth Close Approach trajectory. NASA's asteroid tracking systems expect the object to approach Earth today (11:38 am UTC) (April 23). When this happens, the asteroid will accelerate faster than 18.835 km / h (8.42 mph) km / s) pass by. The flyby marks the asteroid's closest approach to Earth in six years, after it was last shot at Earth in July 2013.
Fortunately, asteroid GN4 will visit Earth again in April 2021 and April 2023 without hitting it.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) astronomers in Pasadena, California have named the asteroid a NEO or near-earth object of the Apollo type.
The name Apollo means that the orbit is similar to that of Asteroid 1862 Apollo.
And the NEO classification means that the asteroid's orbit travels into the Earth's journey around the sun.
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NASA said, "While they are orbiting the sun, objects near Earth may occasionally approach Earth.
"Note that a" narrow "passage can be a long way from a human perspective: millions or even tens of millions of miles."
Against this backdrop, the asteroid appears to be a formidable threat, ranging from 174 to 393.7 feet (53 m and 120 m) wide.
At the top end of NASA's size estimate, the space rock is larger than 14 London double-decker buses arranged in a row, or 60 queen-size beds.
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Even at 53 meters, the asteroid is still longer than 12 Volkswagen Beetle vehicles.
It is known that much smaller asteroids like the 2013 Chelyabinsk Meteor, which is 20 meters (65.5 feet) wide, cause great damage on impact.
Fortunately, there is no need for NASA to just activate the alarm bells because the asteroid is not close enough to hit the planet.
NASA's JPL next says that space rock will fly past Earth at a distance of about 0.02336 astronomical units.
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Only one astronomical unit measures about 149 million kilometers, ie the distance from the earth to the sun.
Asteroid GM4 will reduce this to a flyby of 3.49 million kilometers.
In other words, the asteroid is removed about nine times as far as the moon is from Earth – 9.07 Lunar Distances (LD).
After the safe passage, the rock will reach the corner of the earth again in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027.