A massive kilometer-wide asteroid is hurtling towards our planet at a speed of 107,826 km per hour.
Asteroid AJ129 2002, which will pass eerily close to our planet on February 4 at a speed of 107,826 km per hour has been classified by the International Astronomical Union as "potentially hazardous" for Earth.
Potentially hazardous objects are either asteroids or comets with an orbit such that it has the potential to make close approaches to the Earth and is of a size large enough to cause significant regional damage in the event of an impact.
Astronomers place potentially hazardous asteroids with some threat from impacting our planet in the next 100 years are listed on the Sentry Risk Table.
Reports indicate that as of March 2017 there are 1,786 known potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) and only 205 have an observation arc shorter than 30 days. Of the known PHAs, 157 are believed to be larger than one kilometer in diameter.
As noted by the Mail, the speed the speed the asteroid is traveling at is nearly 15 times faster than the world's quickest manned aircraft - the hypersonic North American X-15, which traveled at 4,520mph (7,300kmh).
The asteroid measures approximately 1.1 kilometers, which makes it larger than the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa of Dubai, which is 800 meters high. According to NASA calculations, the asteroid should pass a distance of 4.2 million kilometers from Earth, which is understood as a fairly close distance on the cosmic scale.
Taking this into consideration, astronomers note how asteroids within a radius of fewer than 7.4 million kilometers of our planet are defined as "dangerous".
Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (USA) warn that if the asteroid hits the Earth, the consequences would have a "very severe global" consequence and would last several years.
In case of an impact, the Earth would likely become a much darker place, colder and dry.
In the "worst case", the soot would remain in the atmosphere for about 10 years, while the dust would take six years to settle. Average temperatures around the world would drop to 8 ° C.
However, despite the fact AJ129 2002 has been deemed a potentially hazardous asteroid, NASA does not estimate that this asteroid will impact our planet now.
You can find out more about NEOs and potentially hazardous space objects by visiting this link.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.
Written by Kristopher