NASA warned that there's a chance that an asteroid as big as the Leaning Tower of Pisa might hit Earth in the near future. The possible impact between Earth and the asteroid could be caused by the latter's natural orbit.

The approaching asteroid has been identified by NASA as 2005 ED224. It is currently being monitored by the agency's automated asteroid tracking system known as Sentry. Like other asteroids in Sentry's list, 2005 ED224 has a non-zero impact probability.

Asteroid approaching earth
Representative image of asteroid approaching earth Pixabay

According to the data collected by Sentry on the asteroid, 2005 ED224 is currently flying across space at an impressive speed of almost 90,000 kilometers per hour. NASA noted that the asteroid has an estimated diameter of about 54 meters.

As indicated by NASA, 2005 ED224 belongs to a family of near-Earth asteroids known as Apollo. Similar to the other asteroids that belong to this group, 2005 ED224 follows an Earth-crossing orbit. This means that from time to time, the asteroid's orbit intersects with that of Earth as the planet travels around the Sun.

2005 ED224's Potential Earth Impacts

According to Sentry, it has detected a total of five potential Earth impacts from 2005 ED224. As indicated by the data collection by the monitoring system, these impacts could take place from 2023 to 2064, with the asteroid's first possible Earth impact happening on March 11, 2023.

2005 ED224's potential impacts are related to its natural orbit. Since the asteroid crosses Earth's path, factors in space could change its trajectory and nudge it into a collision path with the planet. One of these factors is a gravitational keyhole, which is an area in space that's affected by the gravitational pull of a nearby planet. If 2005 ED224 goes through a gravitational keyhole, the asteroid might get pulled into a path that will take it directly to Earth.

asteroid approaching earth
Representational image of asteroid hitting earth causing doomsday Pixabay

2005 ED224's level of destruction

Compared to other asteroids, 2005 ED224 is not that big. Usually, asteroids as big as 2005 ED224 break apart in Earth's atmosphere before reaching the ground. However, since it is traveling at a speed of almost 90,000 kilometers per hour, 2005 ED224 could be fast enough to go through the atmosphere without disintegrating.

If 2005 ED224 successfully penetrates the atmosphere, it could hit the ground and create a crater about half a kilometer wide. Due to the asteroid's size, the energy that will be produced by its impact could be powerful enough to destroy a large area such as a town.