NASA has detected two massive asteroids that are currently headed for Earth. According to the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), one of the approaching asteroids is taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
The first asteroid that’s set to zip past Earth on Friday is called 2019 NW5. This asteroid is currently traveling at a speed of 35,000 miles per hour and has an estimated diameter of 328 feet.
According to CNEOS, 2019 NW5 will approach the planet on July 12 at 1:21 am ST. During its approach, the asteroid is expected to be about 0.04677 astronomical units or roughly 4.3 million miles away from Earth’s center.
2019 NW5 was first observed on July 9. Based on the data collected by CNEOS, the asteroid first visited Earth’s vicinity on Dec. 31, 1938. During this time, it approached the planet within a minimum distance of only 0.00585 astronomical units or around 544,000 miles away.
The asteroid is not expected to return to Earth’s neighborhood until Dec. 31, 2103.
Trailing behind 2019 NW5 is the asteroid known as 2019 KD3. With a diameter of 459 feet, the approaching asteroid is taller than most national monuments such as the Big Ben clock tower and the Statue of Liberty.
Despite being bigger than 2019 NW5, 2019 KD3 is traveling at a slower speed of 18,000 miles per hour.
2019 KD3 is expected to fly past Earth on July 12 at 6:42 am ST. Its closest distance to Earth will be about 0.03975 astronomical units or around 3.7 million miles away.
According to CNEOS’ database, 2019 KD3 is known to visit the orbits of Earth and Mars. Based on the asteroid’s first recorded data, it approached the Red Planet on Aug. 20, 1957 within a minimum distance of 0.01335 astronomical units or 1.2 million miles away.
Prior to its upcoming visit, the last time 2019 KD3 visited Earth’s neighborhood was on July 11, 2005. The asteroid’s next near-Earth approach is expected to happen on July 18, 2033. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.05169 astronomical units or around 4.8 million miles away from Earth.