This new year has already witnessed multiple asteroid approaches, and it seems NASA's asteroid trackers have spotted yet another big asteroid, dubbed Asteroid 2024 AD4, approaching the Earth.
According to reports, the car-sized asteroid is expected to pass our planet today, January 4, at a distance of just 243,000 kilometers. Though the distance may seem massive, it is not that far when estimated in astronomical terms, and this one is even closer than the moon.
The Asteroid 2024 AD4 is screeching across space at a speed of 35643 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). The Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) measured the object's observed positions in the sky and determined that it is much larger than most asteroids in our cosmic vicinity. This has become the first asteroid to pass Earth at a lesser distance than 1 lunar distance this year.
Will this giant asteroid hit Earth?
Despite the speed and distance, Asteroid 2024 AD4, which belongs to the Apollo group of Near Earth Asteroids, has not been termed as a potentially hazardous asteroid by the experts. It was German astronomer Karl Reinmuth, who discovered the massive Apollo asteroid in the 1930s.
According to the researchers, celestial objects that are larger than 492 feet and pass the Earth at a distance closer than 7.5 million kilometers fall under the category of potentially hazardous asteroid. And, Asteroid 2024 AD4 doesn't qualify the criteria as it is of the size of a car with a width of just 20 feet.
Reappearance of Asteroid 2024 AD4
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) revealed that Asteroid 2024 AD4 has never passed the Earth before, and this is its first approach. However, the experts have predicted that this asteroid will come close to our planet again on April 17, 2035, at a distance of 52 million kilometers.
Earlier, on January 3, a huge, building-sized, 310-foot Asteroid 2019 KK5 was expected to fly past the Earth at a distance of just 4 million kilometers. This asteroid first passed our planet on September 19, 1934, at a distance of 67 million kilometers.