Space Rock the Size of Empire State Building Heading Our Means, and Four Other Asteroid Flybys

Is it time?

An asteroid measuring somewhere between 250m and 570m (820ft to 1,870ft), possibly taller than the Empire State Building, is set to fly by Earth on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

The giant speeding chunk of space rock is designated 163348 (2002 NN4), and classed as an Aten asteroid. Atens are Earth-crossing asteroids, many of which are deemed potentially hazardous.

That said, at a distance of about 5.1 million kilometers (3.2 million miles), unless a very convenient wormhole opens up and plops the asteroid right at our doorstep, it’s not likely this one will make contact with Earth. However, as its trajectory does cross Earth’s orbit, it’s worth monitoring for future flybys. According to the Daily Star, it will return again in 2024.

Meanwhile, today (June 2) will see a total of four other near-Earth object passes. According to the International Business Times, here’s what’s going on in space right now:

  • 2020 KK7: Flew by at 4:43 a.m. EDT, just a bit farther away than the distance between Earth and the Moon.
  • 2020 KD4: Flew by at 8:47 a.m. EDT, 2.5 million miles away.
  • 2020 KF: Will zoom past at 12:00 p.m. EDT (under an hour from now as of this posting), at 2.9 million miles away
  • 2020 KJ1: Will fly by at 2:257 p.m. EDT, at 1.3 million miles from Earth

All of these careening space rocks are being monitored by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, or CNEOS. You can check their NEO Earth Close Approaches table to keep tabs. So if things ever do get hairy, I’m sure they’ll let you know.



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