NEW YORK: A small supersonic asteroid, travelling at ten times the speed of a bullet, will pass by the Earth on Tuesday, media reports said.
The asteroid has been given the designation 2022 QC7 and it is not too big, with a width ranging from just 16 metres to 36 metres, according to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), The Jerusalem Post reported.
For comparison, 36 metrrs is around half the wingspan of a Boeing 767 jet plane, the report said.
But asteroid 2022 QC7 is also coming in fast, barreling in Earth's direction at a speed of around 9.10 kilometers per second, or 32,760 kilometers per hour.
To put that in perspective, that is about 10 times as fast as an average 5.56 x 45 mm NATO rifle bullet and is the equivalent of close to 27 times the speed of sound.
NASA has made it clear that asteroid 2022 QC7 has essentially no chance of hitting the Earth, and is set to pass at a distance of over 4.6 million kilometers away.
Considering the Moon orbits the Earth at an average distance of 384,000 kilometers, this is much farther -- albeit not too far on a cosmic scale. However, even if asteroid 2022 QC7 did manage to hit the Earth, it would not do much.
According to research from the Davidson Institute of Science, the educational arm of Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, an asteroid, 140 metres in diameter or more, would release an amount of energy at least a thousand times greater than that released by the first atomic bomb if it impacted Earth.