A 255FT Asteroid Is Headed Past Earth TODAY At 24,226MPH

The asteroid, dubbed by NASA Asteroid 2019 JO3, is headed towards us on a so-called Earth Close Approach trajectory. NASA predicts the asteroid will approach the Earth later today (Tuesday, May 14) in the afternoon hours. NASA’s asteroid trackers at the California Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have narrowed the flyby down to 4.02pm BST (3.02pm UTC). When this happens, the asteroid will fly past Earth at breakneck speeds of 10.83km per second or 24,226.02mph.

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And if that was not terrifying enough, NASA’s radar observations show Asteroid JO3 measures in the range of 114.8ft to 255.9ft (35m to 78m) across. A space rock at the upper end of NASA’s estimate is about as tall as a Giant Sequoia tree or nine London double-decker buses. Even at 114.8ft across, the rock is wider than 17 Queen Size beds lined up in a row.

NASA believes an object this big has the potential to cause “local damage to the impact area” if it hits the planet. A considerably smaller asteroid measuring around 65.6ft (20m) across struck Russia’s Chelyabinsk Oblast in 2013, damaging more than 7,000 buildings and injuring more than 1,000 people with shards of glass. Asteroids this big typically strike the planet once every few hundred years. NASA said:
“Every day, Earth is bombarded with more 100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles. About once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth’s atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball and burns up before reaching the surface. Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoride the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area.”

But is there the asteroid’s flyby today something to be afraid of? Thankfully, there is no need for NASA to sound the alarm bells just yet because the space rock will narrowly miss the planet. At its closest, NASA predicts Asteroid JO3 will approach the Earth from a distance of 0.04730 astronomical units (au).

A single astronomical unit measures the distance between the Earth and the Sun – 93 million miles (149.6 million km). This means Asteroid JO3 will miss the Earth by just 4.39 million miles (7.07 million km). In other terms, this is the equivalent of 18.41 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

This might seem like a lifetime away but according to NASA, the approach is negligible on the cosmic scale of distances. NASA said:
“As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth. Note that a ‘close’ passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometres.”

Once the asteroid shoots past out homeworld, NASA does not expect JO3 to approach the Earth again at later dates. Asteroid trackers first observed JO3 barreling through space on May 8 this year.