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A huge asteroid will pass Earth today and it could be the size of two Empire State Buildings

Asteroid 418135 (2008 AG33) will pass by Earth on Thursday

SHARE A huge asteroid will pass Earth today and it could be the size of two Empire State Buildings
This image shows the asteroid Bennu from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. A giant asteroid will pass by Earth on Thursday.

This image shows the asteroid Bennu from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. A giant asteroid will pass by Earth on Thursday.

NASA via Associated Press

An asteroid, which could be twice as big as the Empire State Building, will pass by Earth on Thursday.

A NASA lab estimated that the size of the asteroid could be between 1,247 and 2,822 feet. Named 418135 (2008 AG33), it will speed past Earth at 23,264 miles per hour, according to Newsweek.

It will take the asteroid 2008 AG33 eight years to finish one revolution on its orbit, with Earth on one side and Mars and Jupiter on the other. Discovered in 2008, it will return past Earth on May 25, 2029.

Know the risk

This Apollo-class asteroid has been labeled potentially hazardous because it is a relatively close object.

However, it should simply pass by the planet. The closest it will come to Earth will be 2,010,000 miles.

If it were to strike Earth, it could cause widespread destruction and a wave of strong earthquakes and tsunamis.

Threats from celestial bodies

So far, NASA has only tracked an estimated 40% of big asteroids that are potentially dangerous. According to Astronomy Magazine, a celestial object which is 0.6 miles big in diameter can cause global effects and mass extinctions.

The most famous and destructive asteroid, with a 6-mile diameter, hit Earth 65 million years ago and whipped out most plant and animal species.

Defense systems

If an asteroid were on track to hit Earth, NASA has various defense systems at its disposal, such as the 1,210-pound DART spacecraft, that can divert asteroids, according to Space.com.