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Home / News / World /  Skyscraper-sized asteroid to whizz past earth today. NASA explains how impactful it can be
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A skyscraper-sized asteroid is zooming toward Earth and will skim past our planet today. The asteroid, named 2013 CU83, measures approximately 600 feet (183 m) across at its widest visible point, and will pass by about 4,320,000 miles (6,960,000 km) from Earth, or about 18 times the average distance between Earth and the moon.

Earlier on Friday, another asteroid, dubbed 2016 CZ31, whizzed past the earth. Astronomers estimate that the asteroid measures about 400 feet (122 meters) across at its widest point, making it about as wide as a 40-story building tall.

Astronomers predicted that it would safely miss our planet, passing about 1,740,000 miles (2,800,000 kilometers) out from Earth — or more than seven times the average distance between Earth and the moon. According to NASA, this space rock makes close approaches to Earth every few years, with the next one scheduled for January 2028.

NASA and other space agencies closely monitor thousands of near-Earth objects like these. Even if an asteroid's trajectory puts it millions of miles from our planet, there is an extremely slim chance that the asteroid's orbit could shift slightly after interacting with the gravity of a larger object, such as a planet; even such a tiny shift could potentially put an asteroid on a collision course with Earth on a future flyby, Space.com reported

As such, space agencies take planetary defense very seriously. In November 2021, NASA launched an asteroid-deflecting spacecraft called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which will slam directly into the 525-foot-wide (160 m) asteroid Dimorphos in autumn(opens in new tab) 2022. The collision won't destroy the asteroid, but it may change the space rock's orbital path(opens in new tab) slightly, Live Science previously reported. The mission will help test the viability of asteroid deflection, should some future asteroid pose an imminent danger to our planet.

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