Asteroid Capable Of Destroying Cities Is Nearing Earth

Friday, February 2, would be the closest approach of a “potentially hazardous” asteroid to Earth in over a hundred years.

The asteroid, 2008 OS7, is about 890 feet wide and the size of a football stadium, according to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) asteroid database.

According to JPL, the 2008 OS7 closest approach should be around 1.77 million miles, which may seem like a lot but is relatively minor when viewed from space. The graphic on JPL’s website looks like the rock is about to smash into Earth.

When 2008 OS7 flies by, it won’t be seen again for hundreds of years. The awe-inspiring event can be viewed in real-time thanks to the Virtual Telescope Project’s broadcast.

Some people refer to asteroids of this magnitude as “city killers.” The moniker is derived from the catastrophic damage that may be caused to Earth’s atmosphere if such an asteroid were to enter it. Most asteroids that are large enough to affect cities go unnoticed by NASA. A massive asteroid hurtling into Earth’s orbit went unnoticed by global space agencies until a fortunate amateur astronomer in Crimea saw it in February 2023.

The Earth’s planetary threat defense system has several serious blind spots. Numerous pieces of evidence point to the conclusion that the last big climatic disaster and mass extinction event, the end of the Younger Dryas, was probably caused by an asteroid or series of asteroids that either collided with Earth or burst within our atmosphere, vaporizing everything in their path, including the North American ice sheets.

On Friday, three considerably more minor asteroids—no more than tens of yards across—will also make a harmless pass by Earth, and two more will do the same on Saturday. A space rock about half the size of the 2008 0S7 will pass close by on Sunday, maintaining a distance of around 4.5 million miles.