Asteroid bigger than any building on Earth to soar past the planet
By Nina Massey, PA Science Correspondent
A giant asteroid, bigger than any building on Earth, is expected to soar past the planet on Tuesday.
Called 7482 (1994 PC1), the asteroid is more than a kilometre wide at 1,052m (3,451ft).
Its size means it is bigger than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which, at 830m (2,723ft), is the world’s tallest building.
But the asteroid poses no threat to Earth and at its closest will pass more than five times the moon’s distance from the planet.
Robert McNaught discovered asteroid (7482) 1994 PC1 at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia on August 9 1994.
Nasa’s Asteroid Watch Twitter account posted: “Near-Earth #asteroid 1994 PC1 (~1 km wide) is very well known and has been studied for decades by our #PlanetaryDefense experts.
“Rest assured, 1994 PC1 will safely fly past our planet 1.2 million miles away next Tues, Jan 18.”
The agency’s Planetary Defence Coordination Office monitors the skies to find, track, and monitor near-Earth objects.
Nasa is also looking at ways to intercept potentially hazardous asteroids with its double asteroid redirection test (Dart) mission.
The mission aims to prove a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it, smashing it off course.