Two skyscraper-size asteroids approached the Earth this weekend. One made its closest approach on Friday (29 July) and the second one on Saturday (30 July).
The first asteroid is the 2016 CZ31 that flew past on Friday, whizzing at an approximate 34,560 mph (55,618 km/h, according to NASA.
Astronomers estimate that the asteroid measures about 400 feet (122 meters) across at its widest point. This means that it is as wide as a 40-story building is tall. The asteroid passed about 1,740,000 miles (2,800,000 kilometers) out from Earth. This is seven times the distance between the earth and the moon.
According to NASA, this space rock makes close approaches to Earth every few years. The next one is scheduled for January 2028.
This giant space rock was traveling at 13,153 mph (21,168 km/h) when it passed near the Earth.
Both of these close encounters are significantly further afield than the asteroid 2022 NF, which came within 56,000 miles (90,000 km) – or about 23 percent of the average distance between Earth and the Moon – on July 7.
In November 2021, NASA launched an asteroid-deflecting spacecraft called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), which will slam directly into the 525-foot-wide (160 m) asteroid Dimorphos in autumn 2022.
The collision won’t destroy the asteroid, but it may change the space rock’s orbital path slightly, Live Science previously reported. The mission will help test the effectiveness of asteroid deflection, should some future asteroid bring danger to our planet.