It is time to thank your stars. A 1,000-feet wide “beast” travelling at a speed of 50,400 km-per-hour — enough momentum to wipe out an entire city — will pass by earth on Sunday.
The asteroid will safely pass earth at a distance of 1.25 million km — more than three times the distance from earth to the moon.
Nicknamed the “Beast,” the mighty rock would have caused an explosion measured in megatons and wiped out a city if it had hit earth, NASA scientists said.
Designated “2014 HQ124”, the asteroid was discovered April 23, 2014, by NASA’s NEOWISE mission, a space telescope adapted for scouting the skies for asteroids and comets.
“2014 HQ124” is designated a “potentially hazardous asteroid” (PHA) by NASA. This refers to those asteroids 460 feet in size or larger that pass within 4.6 million miles of Earth’s orbit around the sun. There are currently 1,484 known PHAs but none pose a significant near-term risk of impacting earth.
“There is zero chance of an impact,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s near-earth object programme office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Astronomers say their main concern is that the Beast was only detected in April before its nearest approach to the Earth despite space surveillance systems scanning outer space for asteroids and other threats.