NASA recently captured photos of an enormous mile-wide asteroid flying through space. But don’t worry: The asteroid is millions of miles away from earth and won’t approach the planet for at least 200 years.
NASA describes the mile-wide asteroid — known as asteroid 2007 PA8 — as “an elongated, irregularly shaped object approximately one mile wide, with ridges and perhaps craters.”
According to Space.com, NASA photographed the asteroid with the agency’s Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, California. The asteroid was about 4 million miles away from earth when the photos were taken.
To put that in prospective, the moon is just 240,000 miles away. Venus, at its closest, is about 23.6 million miles away. The IB Times notes that several other asteroids have passed by earth far closer than asteroid 2007 PA8.
As the name suggests, scientists have known about the mile-wide asteroid since 2007.
“The trajectory of asteroid 2007 PA8 is well understood … This flyby was the closest Earth approach by this asteroid for at least the next 200 years.”
The mile-wide asteroid may be getting all of the attention today, but NASA is also keeping an eye on Asteroid 2012 VD5. Asteroid 2012 VD5 ran past earth early this morning at a range of about 367,000 miles. That asteroid, however, was only about 20 meters wide and is not considered hazardous to earth.
Here’s a look at the mile-wide asteroid.