NASA is monitoring an asteroid that may be as large as the Empire State Building, expected to land on Earth on Saturday, June 6.
The Asteroid 2002 NN4 is approximately 250-570 meters (820-1,870 feet) wide, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). New York City’s iconic Empire State Building is over 1,400 feet high.
The asteroid may seem scary, but it will pass Earth at a safe distance, a spokesperson for JPL News told CBS.
Information on the asteroid is listed on NASA’s Center for Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) website, which tracks nearby Earth approaches. Several other objects are expected to fly into space near Earth this week, according to data.
NASA has built a widget so that star gazers can track asteroids that may appear in the night sky. The widget tracks any Earth strategies within 4.6 million miles of the planet. The tool also uses standard Earth objects to compare asteroid sizes. Some asteroids are as big as houses, other planes, and some as large as stadiums, the widget shows.
Although an asteroid is unlikely to reach Earth anytime soon, scientists are preparing just in case. Scientists from around the world gather at a conference of 2019 and in a large asteroid large enough to destroy a major city.
“All we have to do is change its speed a bit or slower so when it crosses the Earth’s orbit, it also crosses in front of us or behind us,” said Dr. Lori Glaze, director of planetary science at NASA.
There are 20,000 near the Earth asteroids and they occasionally make an appearance. In 2013, one exploded in Russia, injuring 1,600 people.
“I don’t really keep it up at night,” Glaze said.