FIVE asteroids will make ‘close’ passes to Earth today

FIVE asteroids will whizz past Earth TODAY coming within two million miles at speeds of up to 53,000 miles per hour

  • The biggest of the asteroids measures as much as 328 feet (100m) across
  • There will be another three which fly past Earth tomorrow, then more next week
  • The closest asteroid will still be at arm’s length – 1.9million miles away 

Five asteroids will make close passes to the Earth today, according to NASA.

The largest of them could measure more than 300 feet across – matching up to Big Ben or the Statue of Liberty – and the fastest is travelling at more than 53,000mph.

Although the closest of the asteroids will only come within about 1.9million miles (3million km) of the Earth, they are considered close passes by NASA.

NASA has named the asteroids, in order of estimated size, 2019 TW6, 2019 TA1, 2019 TE2, 2019 TP5 and 2019 TM7.

NASA data show the biggest of the asteroids will be up to 328 feet across – about the height of Big Ben in London or the Statue of Liberty – while the smallest will be just 45 feet across (stock image)

The biggest and fastest, TM7, is estimated to be between 148 and 328 feet across (45-100m) and is travelling at about 53,687 miles per hour (24km per second).

The smallest, meanwhile, is TW6 which measures between 45 and 101 feet (14-31m) and is moving at 11,185mph (5km per second).

NASA classed the events as close approaches by ‘Near-Earth Objects’ and lists them all on its websites.

They happen frequently – there will be three tomorrow and then more on Friday next week.

The largest of the asteroids which will pass today, TM7, measures between 148 and 326 feet across – the upper end of the estimate is about equal to the height of Big Ben (pictured)

The Statue of Liberty is about the same size as the largest asteroid expected to pass Earth today, TM7

The largest of the asteroids which will pass today, TM7, measures between 148 and 326 feet across – the upper end of the estimate is about equal to the height of Big Ben or the Statue of Liberty

The closest passing asteroid of today’s lot will be 1.9million miles from Earth, The Mirror reported, so there is no real risk of it causing any damage.

For scale, the moon is 238,900 miles (384,472km) away – so the asteroid will be seven times further.

There are currently 878 asteroids at risk of hitting the Earth in the next 100 years, according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

The agency added that an impact by even a small asteroid could lead to ‘serious devastation’ and, to reduce the risks of a collision, the ESA and several other groups have joined together to search for asteroids.

They are also developing technology to deflect space rocks and will discuss potential tactics at several meetings across Europe.

HOW IS NASA STEPPING UP ITS EFFORTS TO STOP DEADLY ASTEROIDS HITTING EARTH?

The US government is stepping up efforts to protect the planet from incoming asteroids that could wipe out entire regions or even continents.

The National Science and Technology Council released a 20-page report on June 21 calling for improved asteroid detection, tracking and deflection.

The initiative backed by Nasa, federal emergency officials, and the White House aims to coordinate efforts over the next 10 years to detect and respond to possible threats in Earth’s vicinity, should they arise.

Near-Earth objects (NEOs) include all asteroids and comets that orbit within 30 million miles of Earth, Nasa said.

The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to protect the planet from incoming asteroids that could wipe out entire regions or even continents (stock image)

The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to protect the planet from incoming asteroids that could wipe out entire regions or even continents (stock image)

While the probability of an asteroid impact may be low, the effects could be cataclysmic.

For now, scientists know of no asteroids or comets heading our way. But one could sneak up on us – and that’s why the government wants a better plan.

Nasa’s planetary defense officer, Lindley Johnson, says scientists have found 95 percent of all near-Earth objects measuring one kilometer (two-thirds of a mile) or bigger.

But the hunt is still on for the remaining five per cent and smaller rocks that could still inflict big damage.

The new document, titled ‘The National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan,’ established five strategic goals to reduce the risk of an asteroid strike.

These included better methods for detecting and tracking the objects, improved modelling, the development of technologies to deflect NEOs, increased international cooperation on the subject, and the establishment of emergency procedures.