• NASA spotted a massive asteroid that will fly past Earth soon
  • 2018 PD22 has an estimated diameter of over 300 feet
  • The asteroid is big enough to cause an impact event

NASA has spotted a massive near-Earth asteroid that’s expected to fly past the planet soon. According to the data collected by the agency, the asteroid is almost as large as the Big Ben clock tower in London.

The approaching asteroid is currently being monitored through NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). As indicated in CNEOS’ database, the incoming asteroid is known as 2018 PD22.

This asteroid has an estimated diameter of 308 feet. It is currently traveling across space towards Earth at a speed of almost 33,000 miles per hour.

2018 PD22 was first observed on Aug. 13, 2018. By analyzing its trajectory, NASA was able to create an orbit diagram depicting the asteroid’s path within the solar system. As indicated in the diagram, 2018 PD22 follows a trajectory that extends into the plane between Mars and Earth.

As the asteroid makes its way around the Sun, it occasionally intersects Earth orbit. Since it follows an Earth-crossing path and has a smaller orbital axis than that of Earth, 2018 PD22 has been classified as an Aten asteroid.

If 2018 PD22 collides with the planet during one of its near-Earth intersections, it could cause an impact event. Due to its size and current speed, the asteroid will most likely hit the ground instead of breaking up and exploding in the air.

Given its size, the energy that will be released from the massive asteroid’s impact will be powerful enough to destroy an area as big as a city.

Fortunately, CNEOS noted that 2018 PD22 is not in danger of hitting Earth during its upcoming visit. According to the agency, 2018 PD22 is expected to safely fly past Earth on June 19 at 7:40 a.m. EDT.

During its approach, the asteroid will zip past Earth from a distance of 0.04413 astronomical units or about 4.1 million miles away.

2018 PD22’s next near-Earth visit is expected to take place on Aug. 28, 2023. During this time, the asteroid will approach Earth from a much farther distance. According to NASA, the asteroid will be about 0.13636 astronomical units or almost 13 million miles from the planet’s center during its future visit.

Pictured; an artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth. NASA