These three asteroids flew by the Earth on Sunday - NASA

The three asteroids in question, designated 2020 QW3, 2022 QM and 2015 QH3, are each relatively small in size, with estimates ranging from 11 meters to just shy of 50 meters wide.

 An asteroid is seen near Earth in this artistic illustration. (photo credit: PIXABAY)
An asteroid is seen near Earth in this artistic illustration.
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

A total of three asteroids are set to pass by Earth on Sunday, according to NASA's asteroid tracker.

Which asteroid is coming towards Earth?

The three asteroids in question, designated 2020 QW3, 2022 QM and 2015 QH3, are each relatively small in size, with estimates ranging from 11 meters to just shy of 50 meters wide.

How big is the asteroid coming towards Earth in 2022?

Luckily, not very big, and they each range in size.

Asteroid 2020 QW3 is the biggest, with an estimated diameter placing between 22 meters to 49 meters wide, according to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

A helicopter flies above the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor (credit: REUTERS)A helicopter flies above the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor (credit: REUTERS)

For context, 49 meters is around half the size of the Statue of Liberty

Asteroid 2020 QW3 is also the fastest of the bunch, barrelling at a speed of 18.07 kilometers per second. That's over 65,000 kilometers per hour, which is over 530 times the speed of sound.

Next on the list is asteroid 2022 QM, which is between 15 meters to 33 meters wide.

For context, that could make it relatively close to the amount of distance between baseball bases, as specified by Major League Baseball official rules.

This asteroid is also traveling at a much more modest speed of 5.14 kilometers per second.

Lastly, asteroid 2015 QH3 is estimated by NASA to be between 11 meters and 24 meters wide, which is just a bit smaller than asteroid 2022 QM.

It is a bit faster though, traveling at a speed of around seven kilometers per second.

Asteroid illustrative (credit: Wikimedia Commons)Asteroid illustrative (credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Will an asteroid hit Earth in 2022?

Well, if an asteroid hits the world in 2022, it won't be this one, and even if they did impact, it wouldn't be too bad.

Each asteroid is traveling considerably far away from the Earth. Asteroid 2015 QH3 is the one skidding the closest, and it is still estimated to be at a minimum distance of 1.979 million kilometers away from the Earth.

To put that distance in context, the Moon tends to orbit the Earth at a distance of around 384,000 kilometers away. 

Now, on a cosmic scale, these asteroids are still relatively close, but still far and won't hit us. 

Of course, if an asteroid did hit the Earth, it could be very bad.

According to research from the Davidson Institute of Science, the educational arm of Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, an asteroid over 140 meters in diameter would release an amount of energy at least a thousand times greater than that released by the first atomic bomb if it impacted Earth.

Something even larger – over 300 meters wide like the Apophis asteroid – could destroy an entire continent. An asteroid over a kilometer in width – like asteroid 138971 (2001 CB21), which flew past the Earth in early March 2022 – could trigger a worldwide cataclysm.

But at their sizes, these three asteroids will likely not cause much damage if it impacts. It will likely cause a large and loud explosion upon atmospheric entry, but any actual damage would be minimal, at best.

But as for if an asteroid will impact the Earth in 2022, the answer is certainly yes. Or rather, yes, it already happened.

In mid-March, the small asteroid 2022 EB5, which was around half the size of a giraffe, actually hit the Earth - though it caused no damage.

When is the next asteroid predicted to hit the Earth?

Not for a long time, at the very least.

Luckily for us, we're safe from anything for now. In fact, NASA has declared the Earth free of risk of any catastrophic asteroid impacts for the next century.

What is the next asteroid to hit Earth?

We don't know for sure, but there are some candidates.

Currently, one of the most dangerous asteroids for Earth is the asteroid Bennu, a massive 500-meter-wide behemoth of an asteroid. If this asteroid impacted the Earth, the result would be catastrophic - but as far as NASA is aware, this won't be for a long time, if ever.

NASA's DART Mission heads for an asteroid, from behind the NEXT–C ion engine (illustrative). (credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL)NASA's DART Mission heads for an asteroid, from behind the NEXT–C ion engine (illustrative). (credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL)
Do we have any way to stop an asteroid from hitting the Earth?

Not yet, but we're working on it.

The field of planetary defense is specifically organized to do things like that, and scientists at NASA and across the world are hard at work trying to keep the Earth safe.

Currently, the most promising of these efforts is NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which will see a small specially-designed spacecraft slam into an asteroid to see if it can possibly alter its orbit ever so slightly. But time will tell if this will prove effective.