Asteroid bigger than the Golden Gate Bridge set to collide with Earth’s orbit

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An asteroid estimated to be bigger than the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay is set to collide with Earth’s orbit this weekend.

Space rock 2020PP will meet Earth’s orbit head-on as it passes safely past our planet on Saturday (January 23).

The giant asteroid is believed to be a whopping 1,200ft at its upper limit, the equivalent to 370 meters wide, making it bigger than some of the world’s most famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge.

It is expected to pass on Saturday at 11:26 Eastern Standard Time, which is the equivalent to 4.26pm Greenwich Mean Time in the UK.

NASA are keeping an eye on it through their Centre for Near Earth Object Studies at the California Institute of Technology.

Astronomers have classed the asteroid as an Apollo asteroid.

Apollo asteroids cross Earth’s orbit in a similar path to that of a group of near-Earth objects that came into contact with the planet in 1862.

The group of Asteroids were discovered in the 1930s by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth.

It will be zipping past at phenomenal speeds too, travelling at a whopping 8.36 kilometres per second, the equivalent of 18,700 miles per hour.

The asteroid is classed as a NEO as it comes within 1.3 astronomical units to the Sun.

This may seem close, but in reality asteroid 2020PP will be over 4,324,873 miles away from planet Earth when it passes.

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NASA tracks thousands of asteroids every year and although 2020PP is safe, it predicts Earth will one day experience a collision similar to the one that killed off the dinosaurs.

Over 66 million years ago, an asteroid later called Chicxulub collided with planet Earth and triggered earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis, leading to the death of dinosaurs.

Thankfully, life survived and after millions of years the human race emerged following the asteroid’s ashes.

If an asteroid hit in present day, the reality could be much worse back then as as "the lizards didn’t possess atomic energy," YouTube channel HOWEVER theorised.

  • Nasa
  • Asteroids

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