Photo: NASA / Newsmakers
DETROIT, October 14, 2021 ~ According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, multiple asteroids larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza will closely pass Earth in the coming weeks.
The nearest near-Earth object, an asteroid named 2021 SM3, is 525 feet in diameter larger than the 482-foot tall Great Pyramid of Giza. 2021 SM3 will pass the Earth on Friday.
Near-Earth objects are described by NASA as “comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighborhood.”
“We usually categorize things that are near-Earth objects as anything that gets within, say 120 million miles to us, and then we start to track it,” said Cranbrook Institute of Science Astrophysicist and Head of Astronomy Mike Narlock. “These particular objects are going to be far closer to us than that. They are going to get within a couple million miles. And not to cause you to worry, but there is one that we think in about five years or so … that will get within 20,000 miles of us.”
October 13, 2021 ~ Astrophysicist and Head of Astronomy at Cranbrook Institute of Science Mike Narlock talks to Guy Gordon about several large asteroids coming close to Earth.
For comparison, the Moon sits at an average of 238,900 miles from Earth.
Seven asteroids larger than 2021 SM3 will closely pass earth by the end of November.
Of these, the closest will be 1996 VB3, which has a diameter of up to 754 feet, and will be 2.1 million miles from Earth on October 20. The largest is 2004 UE, which has a diameter of 1,246 feet at its widest, just 4 feet shorter than the Empire State Building, which will be 2.6 million miles from Earth on November 13.
“The truth of the matter is, our solar system is full of a lot of stuff, and we get hit all the time to be honest with you, the Earth does,” said Narlock. “We luckily have a shield called the atmosphere that tends to burn most of it up before it hits the ground, but sometimes these really big objects come by, and they hit the ground.”