(NewsNation Now) — A massive asteroid is scheduled to zoom past our planet in the next week.
It is known by the catchy moniker (7482) 1994 PC1 and is traveling nearly 44,000 miles per hour and at a distance of 1.2 million miles, which sounds far, but by astronomical standards is actually pretty close.
“This one has been classified as, well, a potentially hazardous asteroid,” said Dr. David Reitzel, astronomical lecturer at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. “So this time by, it’s going to miss us, it’s going to miss us by quite a lot, but we’ve got to keep an eye on these because it can come back later.”
Reitzel says that this asteroid has been here before; it was first spotted in 1933.
“Cosmically speaking, 1933 was yesterday,” Reitzel said. “We haven’t known about this a long time. A little nudge here, a little nudge there, it can change paths, and it could come back and hit Earth. So it is very important that we observe these and keep track of them.”
Five other near-earth objects, or NEOs, as the space folks call them, are passing by us Wednesday and Thursday. NASA said three are the size of a house, one the size of a bus and the other the size of a jet airplane.
None are coming as close as asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1, which is the size of two Empire State Buildings.
“If one like that comes by and hits the earth, it could be devastating if it hits a metropolitan area,” Reitzel said. “It probably would be fairly devastating even if it hit the middle of nowhere because it would throw so much ash and dust into the atmosphere.”
There are thousands of asteroids and comets zooming through our solar system at this very moment but NASA says none of them pose any serious risk for at least the next 100 years.