Prince Philip may not make it to the royal wedding on May 19 but a whole different class of VIP guest is reportedly swinging by a few hours before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot at Windsor Castle.
According to The Sun, NASA is monitoring a huge asteroid the size of a football field that is expected to zoom past our planet on May 18.
The asteroid, dubbed JPL 8, is reportedly headed for a near-miss with Earth and will dart past us at 2.21 a.m., just hours ahead of the ceremony, notes the Daily Star.
British news outlets convey that the giant asteroid, estimated to be between 49 and 110 meters (about 160 to 360 feet) wide, will not pose a threat to the 100,000 people expected to gather at Windsor Castle in hopes of catching a glimpse of the royal bride and groom.
By the time Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at St. George’s Chapel to be married at noon, asteroid JPL 8 will have safely moved on from our planet’s vicinity.
Although the British sources don’t report how close to the Earth’s orbit the football-field-sized space rock is expected to approach, the news outlets allege that NASA has listed asteroid JPL 8 as a near-Earth object.
As the Daily Star points out, the asteroid was just recently discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in Tucson, Arizona, and is hurtling towards us at an incredible speed of 10 miles per second.
This near-Earth space rock is an Apollo-type asteroid and would have the potential to cause quite a bit of damage if it were to smash into our planet. Experts believe that a hit from asteroid JPL 8 would cause even more devastation than the 59-foot asteroid which crashed in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in 2013. That asteroid impact injured around 1,500 people and damaged more than 7,000 buildings, reports the Daily Star.
The media outlet also revealed that five other objects will safely fly past our planet between now and the date of the royal wedding. On April 10, astronomers reportedly announced that they had detected around 2,000 potentially hazardous asteroids, though none of these space rocks are currently on a collision course with Earth.