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A 1,600-foot-wide asteroid is about to buzz past Earth

Published Mar 10th, 2022 5:06PM EST
Large planetoid in empty space
Image: Mopic/Adobe

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NASA is keeping its eyes on yet another close approach asteroid set to buzz by Earth on Friday. Asteroid 2015 DR215 is approximately the size of a stadium, and NASA expects it to fly past Earth around 4.1 million miles out.

The next close approach asteroid will fly by Earth tomorrow

Comet, asteroid, meteorite flying to the planet EarthImage source: Tryfonov/Adobe

NASA’s Asteroid Watch has its eye on 2015 DR215, as well as several other asteroids set to fly past our planet over the next few days. 2015 DR215 is expected to fly by the Earth in the early morning hours of March 11, 2022. While an asteroid this size could cause damage to Earth if it collided with the planet, the fact that it will pass over 4 million miles away should keep us perfectly safe from it.

This isn’t the first time that an asteroid big enough to damage Earth has flown by our little planet recently. We saw the similarly sized asteroid 4660 Nereus pass by the Earth back in December. Then, in January, an even bigger asteroid than this latest one passed by the planet, even closer than 2015 DR215 will.

When this close approach asteroid flies by, it will pass the Earth at around 19,000 miles per hour. NASA has deemed the asteroid as a “potentially hazardous” entity. However, NASA considers any asteroid that is big enough and comes within 4.65 million miles of Earth a potential hazard.

Since it’s passing us so far out, 2015 DR215 shouldn’t pose much of a threat at all. As such, the potentially hazardous notation should only be viewed as a label for NASA’s classification system.

This isn’t the first time that this close approach asteroid has passed by the Earth, either. According to NASA’s Asteroid Watch, 2015 DR215 also passed us by in March of 2021.

How NASA plans to protect Earth against asteroids

Illustration of DART, from behind the NEXT–C ion engineImage source: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

Seeing close approach asteroids pass us by safely is great and all, but what happens when the events of Don’t Look Up become a reality? That’s why NASA is working on a program to fight back against asteroids that might threaten Earth.

The D.A.R.T. program was designed to help redirect asteroids so that they don’t hit whatever target they may be aiming for. NASA is currently testing D.A.R.T, and we’re expecting to see some results from those tests later this year. IF D.A.R.T is successful, it will help cull any worries about close approach asteroids like 2015 DR215 might bring people.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.