A massive asteroid, measuring approximately 1.6 miles across, is headed near Earth and will most likely zoom by the planet on Oct. 10, according to NASA.
The space agency says the asteroid, officially called 86666 (2000 FL10), is between 0.7 and 1.6 miles wide, making it one of the largest rocks to come near the Earth in recent times. If such an object collided with Earth, it would trigger immediate cataclysms and devastation, experts quoted by Inquisitr said.
The 86666 asteroid was first identified 16 years ago as a “potentially hazardous object,” NASA reported. The agency added that “no observed” asteroid or comet is expected to collide with Earth “in the foreseeable future.” The asteroid is currently believed to be traveling at 40,000 miles per hour.
An asteroid can become a potentially hazardous object if it sets upon an irreversible collision course with the Earth and has the potential for significant damage. An asteroid has to be large and come within 4,600,000 miles of Earth to be considered potentially hazardous.
Asteroids and smaller celestial rocks have hit Earth in the past, with the most notable and recent example being a meteor that landed in southwest Russia in 2013. A major collision event sometime in the future cannot be ruled out.
In 2012, NASA calculated the number of asteroids that pose a foreseeable existential threat to Earth and may be designed as potentially hazardous objects. The study counted 4,700 rocks each measuring at more than 330 feet wide, with orbits close to the Earth. The implications in the event of an actual collision event are ominous.
Scientists at NASA are closely monitoring 86666 as it approaches the planet over the next 24 hours.
Experts estimate another asteroid, 1999 AN10, will come near Earth in 2027. Then, between 2038 and 2114, a large celestial object called 2015 RN35 is projected to head close to Earth, reports the Mirror.