The massive space rock “2016 AJ193”, which dwarfs Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, will soar past Earth at approximately 3:10pm on Saturday, the closest it will come to the planet for at least another 65 years

A massive asteroid that is bigger than the world’s tallest skyscraper Burj Khalifa will soar past Earth on Saturday, August 21. The “potentially hazardous” asteroid is a cluster of 1,000 rocks and has been named as known as “2016 AJ193” by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The fast-moving block is travelling through space at 94,208 km per hour, the US space agency, which is keeping a close eye on it, recorded. At this speed, the asteroid is likely to pass within 3,427,903 km of Earth.

NASA has classified it as a Near-Earth Asteroid and is currently on course to miss Earth by 212,971,5 miles at 3:10 pm GMT (8:40 pm IST) today. This visit of 2016 AJ193 will be the asteroid’s closest approach to planet Earth for at least the next 65 years, Sputnik news reported.

The space agency predicted its orbital track and has said that the asteroid will not do any harm on Earth this time. The asteroid will not be visible to the naked eye. Astronomers will be able to spot it by using telescopes for their study and research.

The 2016 AJ193 is around 1.4 km wide and 4,500 feet in diameter. The asteroid is so massive that its size is 1.5 times of the Burj Khalifa, and over 4.5 times the size of the Eiffel Tower.

In January 2016, it was spotted by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) facility, which is part of Hawaii’s Haleakala Observatory in the US. According to scientists, 2016 AJ193 orbits the Sun. While traveling towards Earth’s orbit, it goes in Jupiter’s direction.

NASA started observing the asteroid on August 20 and will continue till August 24 by using radar. NASA is currently tracking over 26,000 near-Earth asteroids including over 1,000 potentially hazardous.

Source Daily Star

By Arsalan Ahmad

Arsalan Ahmad is a Research Engineer working on 2-D Materials, graduated from the Institute of Advanced Materials, Bahaudin Zakariya University Multan, Pakistan.LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arsalanahmad-materialsresearchengr/