KEY POINTS

  • Four asteroids will approach Earth on Saturday
  • The biggest in the group measures 282 feet
  • Three of the approaching asteroids have Earth-crossing orbits

NASA’s asteroid tracking system has detected four space rocks that will fly past Earth this Saturday. According to the agency’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), three of the approaching asteroids follow orbits that intersect the planet’s path.

CNEOS reported that the first asteroid that will approach Earth this weekend is known as 2020 DV1. This asteroid is currently moving towards Earth at a speed of almost 35,000 miles per hour. It has an estimated diameter of about 282 feet, which makes it almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty.

2020 DV1 is expected to arrive on Saturday at 1:01 a.m. EST. During its approach, the asteroid will fly past the planet from a distance of 0.02683 astronomical units or roughly 2.5 million miles away.

Trailing behind 2020 DV1 is the asteroid identified as 2020 DM3, which measures about 112 feet wide. According to CNEOS, this asteroid is currently traveling across space at a velocity of more than 35,000 miles per hour.

CNEOS noted that 2020 DM3 will fly past Earth on Feb. 29 at 5:17 a.m. EST from a distance of only 0.00815 astronomical units, which is equivalent to 758,000 miles.

The third asteroid that will pay Earth a visit this weekend is called 2020 DP3. This asteroid is moving through the Solar System at a speed of almost 18,000 miles per hour. CNEOS estimated that 2020 DP3 is about 128 feet wide.

2020 DP3 will approach Earth on Feb. 29 at 2:10 p.m. EST. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.03790 astronomical units or about 3.5 million miles from the planet’s center.

The last asteroid that will fly past Earth on Saturday is 2020 DR3. As indicated in CNEOS’ database, this asteroid measures about 115 feet wide and is moving at an average speed of over 24,000 miles per hour.

2020 DR3 will approach Earth on Saturday at 9:06 p.m. EST. It will be about 0.02997 astronomical units or 2.8 million miles from Earth during its approach.

According to NASA, 2020 DV1, 2020 DM3 and 2020 DR3 are Apollo asteroids. This means their natural orbits intersect the path of Earth as it travels around the Sun. 2020 DP3, on the other hand, is an Amor asteroid. Like other Amors, 2020 DP3 doesn’t cross Earth’s path. Instead, it follows a wide orbit around the Sun and Earth.  

Asteroid Image: Artist illustration of an asteroid heading for the Earth Photo: Pixabay