By DANIELLE WELCHThe first asteroid of its kind to hit Earth will strike at dawn on Tuesday, scientists said, as they forecast the first of two possible collisions.
The asteroid is about 5,000 feet (1,100 meters) wide and has a surface temperature of about minus 390 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 180 degrees Celsius), NASA said in a news release on Wednesday.NASA is tracking the asteroid’s path through space with a network of telescopes and radio telescopes.
The asteroid is in a transit orbit, which means it is passing directly between Earth and the sun every 12 hours.
The closest approach of the asteroid is expected at 1:24 a.m.
(0424 GMT) on Wednesday, NASA said.
The space agency is monitoring the asteroid with two other telescopes, the Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Gemini Observatory in Arizona.
The first collision could happen between the asteroid and Earth in about two weeks, according to the agency.
Scientists don’t expect the first impact to have a significant impact on the planet.
The collision is likely to happen during the transit period, which lasts about 120 days.
The first impacts happened between 1997 and 2005.
Scientists expect the asteroid to remain close to Earth for about 10 years.
If the asteroid strikes, it could cause widespread damage, especially in areas where buildings are built and people live, the agency said.
Earth is in the path of another asteroid that is about 6,000 miles (11,600 kilometers) away, NASA added.
The object, known as 2015 A1, is about 11 times more massive than the one that destroyed the Curiosity rover in 2012.