NASA Says 3 Asteroids Will Fly Past Earth on Wednesday, With One As Big As Statue of Liberty

Three asteroids will fly past the Earth on Wednesday at a relatively close—albeit safe—distance, with one of them measuring about the same size as the Statue of Liberty, data from NASA's Center for Near Earth Studies (CNEOS) shows.

The first space rock to make a close approach tomorrow, dubbed 2020 TD, will come within around 4.5 million miles of our planet at 10:14 a.m. ET on October 14 while travelling at around 32,00 miles per hour.

That distance is relatively small in astronomical terms—roughly equivalent to about 18 times the distance between Earth and the moon.

2020 TD was first spotted in September this year and observations indicate that the object measures 35 to 79 meters (114 to 259 feet) in diameter.

At the upper limit of the asteroid's size estimate, the object would be about as tall as California's giant sequoia trees, which can grow to heights of around 250 feet.

The second asteroid, known as 2020 TO2, to pass Earth on Wednesday is somewhat smaller, measuring up to 30 meters (98 feet) in diameter.

That space rock will pass much closer to our planet, coming within 758,000 miles of Earth at 11:08 a.m. ET—just under an hour after the flyby of 2020 TD. This means 2020 TO2 will pass just over three times the Earth-moon distance, while travelling at roughly 28,600 miles per hour.

Around three hours later, a third asteroid, called 2020 TU2, will make its close approach, coming within around 3.9 million miles at 2:07 p.m. ET.

This object is the largest of the three, measuring up to 92 meters (301 feet) in diameter, which is almost exactly the same as the height of the Statue of Liberty—305 feet.

Stock image: Artist's illustration of several asteroids in space. On Wednesday, three asteroids will fly past the Earth, NASA data shows. iStock

Scientists know the orbit of these objects well, so there is no danger that they will strike Earth. NASA and other space agencies are constantly monitoring the sky to in order to try and detect as many near-Earth objects (NEOs) as possible.

NEOs are any asteroids or comets whose orbits around the sun are predicted to take them within 121 million miles of our star, or 30 million miles of the Earth's own orbital path at some point in the next couple of centuries or so—the period for which available data exists.

Scientists have detected roughly 25,000 near-Earth asteroids, of which more than 9,000 are estimated to measure greater than 140 meters (460 feet) in diameter.

"By continually searching for asteroids, we expect to eventually find the majority of the hundred-meter-scale asteroids over time, as each happens to pass by our planet many years or decades before a possible potential impact," CNEOS director Paul Chodas told Newsweek.

"We have already inventoried over 95 percent of the really large asteroids (1 kilometer or 0.62 miles in size and larger) and we know that none of them has any chance of impacting over the next century."