• NASA detected a massive asteroid that will zip past Earth on Wednesday
  • 2020 MX3 is bigger than the Statue of Liberty
  • The asteroid is capable of causing an impact event but is not expected to collide with Earth during its upcoming visit

NASA is currently monitoring a massive asteroid that’s expected to fly past Earth on Wednesday. According to the agency’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the incoming asteroid is bigger than some of the world’s most famous landmarks.

The approaching asteroid has been identified as 2020 MX3. As indicated in CNEOS’ database, this asteroid is currently flying across space at a speed of over 19,000 miles per hour.

2020 MX3 was first observed on June 28. After analyzing its trajectory, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was able to create an orbit diagram depicting the asteroid’s movement within the Solar System.

As noted by NASA, 2020 MX3 follows a wide orbit around the Sun that extends into the path of Mars. Occasionally, the asteroid flies close to Earth and even intersects its orbit as it encircles the Sun. Due to its orbital axis and Earth-intersecting trajectory, 2020 MX3 has been labeled as an Apollo asteroid.

According to CNEOS, 2020 MX3 has an estimated diameter of 328 feet, making it one of the biggest asteroids to approach Earth this month. Given its size, the asteroid is bigger than some of the most well-known landmarks in the world, such as London’s 315-foot Big Ben clock tower and the 305-foot Statue of Liberty in New York.

Due to its massive size and speed, the asteroid has a chance of causing an impact event on Earth if it collides with the planet. If it hits Earth, it will create a crater that’s about a mile wide. The blast from the energy that it will produce will be powerful enough to destroy everything in its immediate surroundings.

Fortunately, CNEOS noted that 2020 MX3 is not in danger of colliding with Earth anytime soon. According to the agency, the massive asteroid will safely fly past the planet on July 29 at 11:40 a.m. EDT. During its approach, 2020 MX3 will be about 0.02413 astronomical units or roughly 2.2 million miles away from the planet’s center.

2020 MX3’s next near-Earth approach will happen on Feb. 21, 2021. According to NASA, the asteroid will be about 0.38812 astronomical units from the planet during this time, which is equivalent to 36 million miles.

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