The US space agency’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) website has released surprisingly detailed data on the wandering asteroid. NASA has confirmed that 153201 2000 WO107 will overtake Earth on Sunday 29 November.
The uninvited visitor from our cosmic neighborhood will pass in front of the Earth at 10.09 GMT (5.09 ET).
The asteroid is predicted to be a real monster, estimated to be between 12.00 feet and 2.5700 feet (370m and 820m).
To put this into perspective, the widest rogue space rock is nearly the height of Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the tallest building in the world.
NASA has also predicted that the asteroid is currently accelerating into space at 25.07 km / s, the equivalent of 56,000 mph.
However, even the sharpest astronomers will not be able to see the asteroid from the mainland.
This is because 2000 WO107 only arrives within 0.02876 astronomical units of Earth (2,673,409 miles).
But while it may seem like a stretch of the imagination for NASA to describe this asteroid as a “close approach,” the term is technically correct.
This is especially true when taking into account the infinite scale of space.
The space agency classifies the rock as a Near Earth Object (NEO), the term for any asteroid or comet that is within 1.3 AU of Earth.
An AU is a useful measure of astronomy, the equivalent of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun.
NASA has even confirmed that 2000 WO107 is not the only asteroid to have such a relatively close approach to our planet on Sunday 29 November.
The space agency’s NEO site lists the 2020 WC2 as a somewhat less spectacular appearance over the weekend.
This asteroid will be at its closest point to the blue planet at 19.04 GMT (2.04 pm ET).
Measuring only 180 feet (55m) in diameter, it is considerably smaller than its predecessor.
And its other stats are less impressive too, with the asteroid zipping through the cosmos at “ only ” 22.33 km / s (50,500 mph).
The asteroid will also be much further away than the previous encounter on Sunday, at 0.03582 AU (3,329.676 miles).
But both space rocks are classified as Apollo asteroids, which describe their inevitable trajectory towards Earth’s orbit.
While there is no possibility of impact on Earth, NASA’s National Strategy and Action Plan for Preparing Near-Earth Objects is already preparing for a worst-case scenario.
The space agency has already recognized how asteroids as small as 1km in diameter can lead to doomsday scenarios.
Fortunately, such events are so rare that Earth has not encountered such a catastrophic collision of asteroids since it wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.