NASA has confirmed that an asteroid bigger than any man-made structure in the world is hurtling towards Earth at a speed of almost 34,000 miles per hour. Where's our version of Armageddon's Bruce Willis character when we need him? NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) says the "potentially hazardous" asteroid could come into contact with Earth on February 15th, 2020, at 6:05 a.m. Eastern. Thankfully, it seems that the gigantic asteroid will miss us by a few million miles, so there's no need to panic or celebrate (if you're into that kind of thing) just yet.
CNEOS estimated that the dangerous asteroid has a diameter of around 3,250 feet, making it much larger than anything humans have constructed here on Earth. It has been labeled as an Apollo asteroid, meaning that it is could potentially intersect the Earth's path around the sun. CNEOS labeled the asteroid as "potentially dangerous" because of its size and its orbit. For NASA to announce it as "potentially dangerous" is really no laughing matter. However, it looks like we don't have anything to worry about.
In addition to the size and orbit of the asteroid, CNEOS adds that the dangerous aspect comes into play when the asteroid enters the Earth's orbit more than once. This means it has the potential to make impact every time it passes the planet, especially since it has an Earth-crossing orbit. The giant space rock is expected to travel over the Earth this weekend and miss us by about 3.6 million miles. While that sounds like a lot, it's really not because of how big the asteroid is and the way it orbits.
If the colossal asteroid did hit the Earth, it would be catastrophic. If it hit the ocean, tsunamis along the coasts would be expected and if it hit a city, it would destroy it in seconds. It would also kill millions while triggering a global nuclear winter that could last for decades. If a global nuclear winter were to happen, there's no telling what types of species would go extinct and there's no telling what that would do for the ecosystem in the long-term. Basically, it's really great news that this giant asteroid is going to miss us by millions of miles. So don't get Bruce Willis on the phone just yet.
With the asteroid getting all of this attention, we may see Armageddon and Deep Impact start to climb the iTunes movie charts over the weekend. With the recent coronavirus outbreak, Contagion found itself rocketing into the top ten and even starting trending on social media. Outbreak got some attention, but not nearly as much as Contagion did. This weekend might be a good time to hang with your Valentines and appreciate being alive for another few days before another giant space rock or deadly virus takes out the human race. NASA was the first to report about the "potentially dangerous" asteroid hurtling towards Earth.