Several asteroids bigger than the Great Pyramid of Giza will closely pass by Earth in the upcoming weeks, including one this week.
According to data from NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, the asteroid 2021 SM3, which was discovered just last month, will pass by our planet on Friday. The diameter of the asteroid is up to 525 feet, just bigger than the 482-foot long Great Pyramid of Giza. An object of that size would be enough to "cause local damage to the impact area" if it were to hit Earth.
2021 SM3 is classified as a near-Earth object, which NASA says "are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighborhood." The bodies are anything that comes within 120 million miles of Earth.
At its closest point, the asteroid will be about 3.6 million miles from Earth. Though that sounds like a safe distance, it's much closer than our neighbor Venus, which can be 74.8 million miles away depending on each planet's orbit.
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2021 SM3 won't be the only large asteroid that passes by Earth soon. Seven asteroids bigger than SM3 will come close to our planet by the end of November.
Of all the recently approaching asteroids, 1996 VB3 will be the closest to Earth at 2.1 million miles on Oct. 20. That asteroid has a diameter of up to 754 feet.
The biggest asteroid in the coming weeks is 2004 UE, which has a diameter of up to 1,246 feet, just a few feet shorter than the Empire State Building. 2004 UE will be 2.6 million miles from Earth on Nov. 13.
There are thousands of near-Earth objects in our solar system – 27,024 to be exact. Of those objects, 9,856 are at least 459 feet long, and 890 of them measure 3,280 feet or longer.
The biggest asteroid to pass by Earth this year came in March, when Asteroid 2001 FO32, estimated to be 3,000 feet wide, came 1.2 million miles away from Earth.
The asteroid Apophis, named after the God of Chaos and just smaller than 2004 UE, made headlines this year for the possibility that it could strike Earth. Scientists determined it wouldn't hit the planet in the next 100 years but would be within 20,000 miles of the Earth on April 13, 2029.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Asteroids bigger than Pyramid of Giza to pass by Earth, NASA says