• Asteroid 2020 VX4 will be almost as close to Earth as the moon when it makes its close approach Wednesday
  • The near-Earth asteroid measures 59 feet across and is not expected to hit the planet
  • The asteroid has not been included in the ESA's Risk List

A 59-foot asteroid will pass by Earth this week — and it will get almost as close to the planet as the moon.

A near-Earth asteroid (NEA) identified as 2020 VX4 will harmlessly zip past Earth Wednesday at around 5:09 p.m. EST, according to NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). But while asteroids passing by the planet is nothing new, this space rock differs from most NEAs due to its proximity.

Asteroid 2020 VX4 will come incredibly close to Earth when it zips past, flying by at an estimated distance of 250,700 miles (403,000 kilometers) from the planet's surface, according to CNEOS' Close Approach Data Table. It is traveling at an average speed of 25,000 miles per hour.

This would mean that the asteroid will get almost as close to Earth as the moon when it makes its flyby Wednesday. The natural satellite is only 238,800 miles (384,000 kilometers) away from Earth.

Asteroid 2020 VX4 has an estimated diameter of 59 feet (18 meters). This would make the NEA about 10 times as tall as a refrigerator with a standard height of 5.8 feet.

Although 2020 VX4 will fly very close to Earth this week, it has not been included in the European Space Agency's (ESA) Risk List, signaling a safe evening to everyone on Earth. The asteroid will be under close observation by the space agency until it completes its flyby.

But even if it does take a turn and hit Earth, objects within the size range of 2020 VX4 generally disintegrate in the atmosphere, though some can cause localized blast and impact effects.

Asteroid 2020 VX4 is classified as an Apollo type due to its Earth-crossing orbit. Asteroids in this category follow orbits that intersect with that of the Earth at a certain point, which makes close approaches more likely.

The 59-foot NEA was only discovered four days ago at the Mount Lemmon Observatory. According to the ESA, its next close approach is projected to occur about four years from now on Nov. 20, 2024.

Asteroids are rocky worlds that revolve around the sun and are too small to be considered planets. Also known as planetoids or minor planets, asteroids can pack a punch when they hit Earth no matter their size. NASA and CNEOS are only two of several agencies that monitor these asteroids and their interactions with Earth.

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