A mammoth asteroid (space rock) identified as 216258 (2006 WH1) is all set to come dangerously close to Earth on December 20, just days before Christmas at a staggering speed of 26,843 miles per hour. The 540 metre space rock is the same size as the World Trade Centre and would cause a significant amount of damage and mass extinction if hits Earth.
According to metro.co.uk, during its closest approach, the massive space rock will come within 3.7 million miles of our planet, which sounds like a huge distance but is tiny in cosmic terms. Relax, the asteroid will zoom past our planet.
It is to be noted that asteroids, if hit Earth, can bring tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic. The space rocks approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. It is said that one day all life on the Earth will be extinct. Not only life, but the Earth will also extinct someday and an asteroid could be the possible reason. Shocked to hear that? However, a car-sized asteroid slams into the Earth's atmosphere about once in a year. On the other hand, an asteroid large enough to threaten the existence of life on Earth arrives once every few million.
It is worth mentioning here that out of the 8,29,361 known asteroids and 3,592 known comets in the system, more than 20,000 space rocks are ranked as NEOs.
Recently, researchers have found that a collision between rocks in space around 470 million years ago greatly influenced the diversity of life on the Earth.