Two Asteroids Bigger Than the Great Pyramid of Giza to Fly Past Earth

Two huge asteroids will sail past the Earth in the next few days, NASA data shows. Both of the space rocks are around the same size as the Empire State Building, and roughly three times larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The first of the two asteroids to fly past our planet is known as 2020 PP. It will make its closest approach on January 23 at 6:26 a.m. ET, according to NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS.)

At this point, the object will be located around 4.3 million miles from us—which is equivalent to roughly 18 times the average distance between the Earth and the moon.

2020 PP is estimated to measure up to 1,213 feet in diameter and will be travelling at a speed of around 18,700 miles per hour relative to the Earth at close approach.

The asteroid, which was discovered in 2020, orbits the sun every 381 days and is scheduled to make its next close approach to our planet on August 10, 2021.

The second of the two space rocks, dubbed 468727 (2010 JE87,) will make its close approach just a couple of days later on January 25 at 1:17 p.m.

It is potentially slightly larger than its predecessor, with the CNEOS estimating it to measure up to 1,410 feet in diameter.

During its close approach, the asteroid will also travel slightly closer to our planet—coming within a minimum distance of around 3.7 million miles, or about 15 times the average Earth-moon distance.

In addition, 2010 JE87 will be travelling much faster than 2020 PP, reaching a staggering velocity of around 33,400 miles per hour, which is roughly 45 times faster than the speed of sound.

These asteroids are classed as near-Earth objects (NEOs) because their paths around the sun take them within 30 million miles of our planet's orbit. Some NEOs—the vast majority of which are asteroids—are referred to as "potentially hazardous" if they have certain characteristics.

"A near-Earth asteroid is considered 'potentially hazardous' if its orbit approaches the Earth's orbit to within approximately 4.6 million miles, or about 19 lunar distances, and its size is greater than roughly 140 meters [around 460 feet,]" Paul Chodas, manager of the CNEOS at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, previously told Newsweek.

Currently, scientists have identified around 25,000 NEOs, with over 90 percent of those measuring larger than one kilometer (0.62 miles) in diameter already discovered, according to the CNEOS.

Artist's rendering of an asteroid
Stock image: Artist's rendering of an asteroid. Two large asteroids will sail past Earth over the next few days. iStock