NASA is currently monitoring two near-Earth objects (NEO) that are expected to approach the planet tomorrow, Oct. 5. Based on the size of the approaching asteroids, they will most likely burn up and explode in Earth's atmosphere if they hit the planet.
According to NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the first asteroid that will visit Earth's neighborhood is called 2019 TV. The agency noted that this asteroid is currently approaching Earth with an average speed of almost 33,000 kilometers per hour.
CNEOS estimated that 2019 TV is about 15 meters wide, which makes it almost as long as a standard bowling lane.
The other asteroid that is currently headed for Earth has been identified as 2017 TJ4. As indicated in CNEOS' database, this asteroid is moving at a speed of around 32,000 kilometers per hour.
2017 TJ4 is significantly bigger than 2019 TV. According to the agency, this asteroid has an estimated diameter of 54 meters. This means the asteroid is almost as tall as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.
Based on the sizes of these asteroids, they will probably explode in the sky instead of hitting the ground if they end up colliding with Earth. However, this does not automatically mean that these two asteroids are harmless.
In 2013, an asteroid that was about 20 meters wide exploded in the atmosphere. It happened over a region known as Chelyabinsk Oblast in Russia. The energy released by the mid-air explosion was equivalent to 500 kilotons of TNT, which is around 30 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in World War II.
Although a huge percentage of the energy released by the blast was absorbed by the atmosphere, it was still powerful enough to damage about 7,000 buildings on the ground. The incident also injured around 1,500 people.
Fortunately, CNEOS noted that the two approaching asteroids will completely miss Earth during their upcoming visits. According to the agency, 2019 TV will enter Earth's neighborhood on Oct. 5 at 2:57 pm SGT. The asteroid is expected to fly past Earth from a very safe distance of 0.01057 astronomical units, which is equivalent to almost 1.6 million kilometers.
As for 2019 TJ4, CNEOS predicted that this asteroid will fly past Earth on Oct. 5 at 7:46 pm SGT. During its flyby, the asteroid will be about 0.03447 astronomical units or almost 5.2 million kilometers from the planet's center.