NASA’s impact monitoring system has detected the largest and most dangerous asteroid that could hit Earth. If this asteroid collides with Earth, it could cause a partial extinction event on the planet.

The dangerous asteroid has been identified by NASA as 29075 (1950 DA). This asteroid is currently being tracked by Sentry, which is NASA’s automated asteroid impact monitoring system. With an estimated diameter of around 4,300 feet, 29075 (1950 DA) is currently the largest asteroid in Sentry’s list that has a chance of hitting Earth.

According to NASA, 29075 (1950 DA) is classified as an Apollo asteroid, which means it has a wide orbit that goes around the Sun and the Earth. From time to time, the asteroid’s orbit intersects with that of Earth as the planet completes its cycle around the giant star.

Due to its Earth-crossing natural orbit and its massive size, 29075 (1950 DA) has been labeled as a potentially hazardous asteroid.

“Potentially Hazardous Asteroids are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth,” NASA explained in a statement.  

“Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance of 0.05 astronomical units or less and an absolute magnitude of 22.0 or less are considered [potentially hazardous asteroids],” the agency added.

Unlike the other asteroids featured in Sentry’s list, only one potential Earth impact has been detected for 29075 (1950 DA). According to the monitoring system, this impact event could take place on March 16, 2880.

Sentry noted that if the asteroid ends up hitting Earth on this date, it might do so with a velocity of over 40,000 miles per hour. The asteroid’s speed, combined with its massive size, indicate that an impact event by 29075 (1950 DA) would cause high levels of destruction on Earth.

Although this asteroid is smaller than the one that triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs millions of years ago, 29075 (1950 DA) is still big enough to completely wipe out entire cities and even states. The energy that will be released from its impact could be powerful enough to trigger extreme environmental effects.

asteroids_passing_earth Over 17,000 near-Earth asteroids remain undetected in our solar neighborhood. Pictured; an artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth. Photo: NASA