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21 Feb, 2021 17:25

NASA warns of STADIUM-SIZED asteroid headed towards Earth

NASA warns of STADIUM-SIZED asteroid headed towards Earth

The US space agency is warning of a salvo of space rocks headed for Earth, ranging in size from a paltry 10 meters in diameter all the way up to a positively petrifying 213.

When not keeping a close eye on its Perseverance rover, which touched down on Mars this week, NASA is busy monitoring the sky for potential threats to life on Earth – namely asteroids. And this week is no exception, as five such space rocks are due to buzz the planet we call home.

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On Sunday, the 10-meter asteroid 2021 DD1 and the 61-meter asteroid 2021 DK1 will shoot past Earth at a safe distance of 1.6 million kilometers and six million kilometers, respectively. 

However, they are just the warm-up act for what NASA describes as the stadium-sized asteroid 2020 XU6, which measures some 213 meters in diameter. To put that into perspective, it’s twice as tall as London’s Big Ben and two and a half times as tall as the Statue of Liberty. 

2020 XU6 is travelling at a speed of 8.4 kilometers per second or 30,240 kilometers an hour. Given that the circumference of the Earth is 40,075 kilometers, it would take the asteroid a little over an hour to complete a lap of the entire planet.

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Mercifully, however, the space rock is expected to miss us by roughly four million kilometers when it flies by on February 22, so humanity can breathe a collective sigh of relief for now.

The giant space rock will be followed shortly after by 2020 BV9 (23 meters), which will pass at a distance of 5.6 million kilometers, and 2021 CC5 (40 meters), which will pass at roughly 6.9 million kilometers.

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