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Asteroid travelling at 43,000km per hour to come closer than the Moon tomorrow

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An asteroid which has been dubbed 2021 EQ3 will have an extremely close approach with Earth tomorrow. The space rock will pass Earth at just a seventh of the distance between the Earth and the Moon, NASA revealed. The measurement between the Earth and the Moon is known as a lunar distance (LD).

NASA revealed on its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) website that 2021 EQ3 will fly by at 0.7 LDs.

This means the asteroid will fly by our planet, safely, at just over 269,000 kilometres away.

Data from NASA shows the asteroid is zooming through the solar system at a staggering 12 kilometres per second, or more than 43,000 kilometres per hour.

The extremely close approach to our planet will allow scientists to study the space rock, as it has been deemed a near Earth object (NEO).

NASA said on its JPL website: “NEOs are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.

“The scientific interest in comets and asteroids is due largely to their status as the relatively unchanged remnant debris from the solar system formation process some 4.6 billion years ago.

“The giant outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) formed from an agglomeration of billions of comets and the left over bits and pieces from this formation process are the comets we see today.

“Likewise, today’s asteroids are the bits and pieces left over from the initial agglomeration of the inner planets that include Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

READ MORE: Asteroid 231937 photographed before Earth close approach

At that size, any possible impact would be similar to the Chelyabinsk incident.

In 2013, a 20-metre space rock hurtled towards Earth, making its way through the atmosphere before exploding above the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia.

The meteor explosion was so powerful that it caused damage to more than 7,000 buildings and injured more than 1,400 people.



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