The asteroid, dubbed by NASA Asteroid 2018 YQ2, is expected to approach our home planet just after midnight. NASA's asteroid experts at the California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) predict YQ2 will flyby at 12.07am GMT (UTC) on Tuesday, January 8. During this flyby, the imposing asteroid wants to reach its closest possible distance to the planet – a like -called "Earth Close Approach".
NASA expects asteroid YQ2 to visit the Earth again in eight months on the evening of August 26, 2019.
NASA's JPL scientists estimate YQ2 measures in the range from 52.5ft to 118.1ft (16m to 36m) in.
NASA's JPL scientists estimate that it is a good enough reason for NASA's asteroid trackers to pay close attention to the space rock
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At the upper end of YQ2's estimate, the space rock is about more t han twice as tall as the hollywood sign in los angeles, is six times as tall as an average giraffe and is nine-times longer than a Volkswagen Beatle.
Thankfully, even at its closest, Asteroid YQ2 wants to miss the Earth completely by nearly two million miles.
NASA believes the space rock will reach 0.01919 astronomical units (au) from the Earth – a Near-Earth Object (NEO) but not close enough to sound the alarm bells.
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One astronomical unit is the distance from Earth to the Sun and about 93 million miles (149.6 million km).
19659003] Asteroid YQ2 wants to cut this distance down tonight to just 1.78 million miles (2.87 million km).
This is roughly the equivalent of 7.47 Lunar Distances (LD) or 7.47-times the distance from Earth to the Moon.
19659003] And the space rock wants to dash through space at breakneck speeds of more th at 12,000mph or 5.68km per second.
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The US space agency said: "Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are asteroids and comets in orbits that bring them into the inner solar system, within 121 million miles ( 195 million kilometers) of the Sun. "
All NEO's heading past the Earth are tracked by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS )
As of July 2018, NASA has discovered more than 18,000 known NEOs and the space agency discovers 40 new space rock a week on average.
The vast majority of NEOs are 450ft and smaller but are still NASA said, "With the addition of more capable NASA-funded asteroid surveys over the years, NASA's NEO Observation Program is responsible for over 90 percent of near-Earth asteroid and comet discoveries. "