NASA is on the lookout for a giant space rock three times the size of a blue whale about to fly past Earth.
Asteroid 2021 GT2 passes close enough to make it onto NASA’s Earth Close Approaches charts.
The space agency estimates the asteroid to be between 121 and 272 feet across.
In comparison, the average blue whale is about 70 feet long.
An asteroid that size would cause serious damage if it hit Earth.
Although NASA has labeled the space rock as close approach, asteroid 2021 GT2 will pass Earth with a safe threshold of 2.2 million miles.
When an asteroid approaches within 4.65 million miles of Earth and exceeds a certain size, cautious space agencies classify it as “potentially dangerous.”
Asteroid 2021 GT2 conforms to this NASA policy.
The giant asteroid is expected to fly by on June 6th.
Closest approach is expected around 5:35am BST or 12:35pm ET.
The asteroid is expected to make another close approach in 2034. It will happen within 9 million miles, which is significantly further away than next week’s orbit.
How NASA protects against asteroids
Scientists want to prepare for when an asteroid suddenly changes its trajectory, Live Science reported.
NASA is testing whether or not a large asteroid could be thrown off course by a rocket crash.
The space agency recently launched an asteroid-deflecting spacecraft in November last year.
This spacecraft will hit the 530-foot-wide asteroid Dimorphos in the fall of 2022.
NASA won’t destroy the asteroid, but they want to see if the space rock’s orbit changes slightly.
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https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5480301/huge-asteroid-three-times-blue-whale-close-approach/ Huge asteroid three times the size of a blue whale that flies past Earth in DAYS