NASA has detected three massive asteroids that are currently headed for Earth. According to the agency’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), one of the approaching asteroids will fly closer than the Moon.

The first asteroid that will visit Earth on Wednesday is 2015 HM10. This asteroid is currently traveling at a speed of 21,273 miles per hour and is about 360 feet long. At its current size, the asteroid is bigger than the Statue of Liberty.

2015 HM10 is expected to fly past Earth on July 24 at 6:00 am ST. It will approach the planet from a distance of 0.03135 astronomical units or around 2.9 million miles away.

This asteroid was first observed on April 18, 2015. According to its trajectory record, 2015 HM10 is a frequent visitor to Earth and Jupiter’s vicinity.

Trailing behind 2015 HM10 is the asteroid known as 2019 OD. This near-Earth object is also 360 feet long. It is traveling at a much faster speed compared to 2016 HM10 at 43,000 miles per hour.

Out of the three asteroids that will fly past Earth on Wednesday, 2019 OD will approach the closest. According to CNEOS’ data, the asteroid will only be about 0.00239 astronomical units or around 222,160 miles from Earth on July 24 at 1:31 pm ST. This means 2019 OD will be flying much closer than the distance between the Earth and the Moon, which is around 238,900 miles.

Shortly after 2019 OD’s close-Earth approach, the asteroid will fly near the Moon at around 1:44 pm ST.

The last asteroid that’s set to zip past Earth on Wednesday is 2019 OE. According to CNEOS, this asteroid has a velocity of around 20,000 miles per hour. Compared to the first two asteroids, 2019 OE is much smaller with an estimated diameter of 174 feet.

2019 OE is will approach Earth on July 24 at 2:36 pm ST. Like 2019 OD, 2019 OE will also zip past the planet at a close distance. Based on the data collected by CNEOS, the asteroid will be about 0.00646 astronomical units or around 600,500 miles from the planet’s center during its approach.  

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