A massive asteroid, which could almost be of the size of New York’s Empire State building or even bigger, is expected to fly past Earth on Wednesday, March 7, at the speed of 14,092 miles per hour.
Named 2017 VR12, the asteroid is expected to have a diameter of between 700ft and 1,500ft. Notably, New York City’s Empire State Building is 1,450ft tall. The asteroid is likely to pass within 900,000 miles of Earth, that’s roughly three times farther away than the moon.
According to NASA, VR12 is among one of 1,882 asteroids that have been described as ‘potentially hazardous’ as it makes its approach to Earth. The space agency labels asteroids as hazardous if they come within 4,600,000 miles of Earth.
2017 VR12 was first discovered by NASA’s Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii on November 10, 2017. The asteroid will be closest to Earth on Wednesday night at around 2:53 a.m. EST.
NASA has assured people that there’s nothing to worry as there’s no possibility that the massive asteroid will collide with Earth. It’s not likely to come within Earth’s range for the next 177 years or so. The space agency is hopeful that the asteroid would turn out to be a perfect subject for future aerospace studies.
“This object is on the NHATS list of potential spacecraft mission targets, although no mission is actually planned for this object,” the space agency explained. “It should be a very strong radar target.”
Stargazers from all over the world will be able to watch the asteroid zooming past Earth live via the Virtual Telescope project through a live webcast. They can even use the 16-inch robotic telescope at the Tenagra Observatories in Arizona as part of the Virtual Telescope Project and Tenagra Observatories to watch the VR12 asteroid fly by the earth.