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NASA warns asteroid bigger than Big Ben to crash into Earth’s orbit at 50,000mph today

A large asteroid, travelling at incredible speeds of 50,000mph is set to clash with Earth’s orbit today.

The rock, 2021RL3, measures 160-360 feet in diameter and is expected to be within our planet’s orbit.

The object is expected close to Earth at 3.30 pm US time (13.30 GMT) on September 20.

The moon is 238,855 mile away, while the asteroid is approximately 7 lunar distances from Earth (trips back and forth to the moon).

2021RL3 is expected to be very close to Earth and would have a significant impact if it did.



2021RL3 is expected to smash through Earth's orbit today
2021RL3 is expected to smash through Earth’s orbit today

NASA is able to determine when the asteroid is going to fly by and how big it is by the light the object emits.

The flying debris will be in an elliptical orbit and travel between Mars, Jupiter, before moving closer to Earth.

2021RL3 will come closer to Earth then any other planet in the solar system.



The large space rock will be less than 2million miles away from the planet
The large space rock will be less than 2million miles away from the planet

After, it’s expected to whizz around the Sun before making its journey back.

Although they are much larger than the Earth, there are still over 100 tons of small space rocks and other debris that fall onto its orbit every day. Some only measure a few metres in size.

Anything smaller than a car is likely to ignite in the atmosphere, and is not considered a threat.



It'll be closer to Earth than any other planet in the solar system
It’ll be closer to Earth than any other planet in the solar system

NASA believes every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field is likely to make through the atmosphere and cause destruction.

A rock large enough for Earth to be dangerous is only detected once in a few million years.

NASA regularly monitors ‘close approaches’ in order to track comets and asteroids that are moving towards or near Earth’s orbit.



NASA track close approaches for astronomers to track and study
NASA track close approaches for astronomers to track and study

The space agency lists these encounters so astronomers can study the pieces of rock as they fly past.

This comes just days after NASA released a new study that examined the possibility of Bennu’s impact on Earth between now, and 2300.

The rock, around one-third of a mile wide, is listed as a “potentially hazardous object” to humanity, was first discovered back in 1999.

Bennu is a C-type rock and one of the most dangerous asteroids in our solar system.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has released new data that predicts the path of the asteroid through the solar system. This increases the likelihood of it striking the planet on September 24, 2182.

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NASA warns asteroid bigger than Big Ben to crash into Earth's orbit at 50,000mph today
Anurag Reddy
I'm a 29-year-old travel enthusiast, travel and nature photographer, Computer Science graduate, and Mass Communication student. I have seen different shades of life through traveling and lived different lives through reading. With every word I write, I travel within, and I understand myself better. Writing helps me discover myself, and that paved roads for me to choose writing as a profession.
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