An asteroid the size of over 35 chickens is set to pass Earth on Saturday, July 15, according to NASA's asteroid tracker.
The asteroid in question has been designated as 2023 NY, according to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
Despite its initials, this asteroid has no relationship to the US state of New York. Rather, it just indicates the order in which it was discovered and identified.
No cluckin' way: How big is the asteroid coming towards Earth in 2023?
NASA's estimates give asteroid 2023 NY a diameter of as much as 25 meters.
Now, that size could be a bit confusing without a frame of reference, so here's a more relatable metric: Chickens.
These popular fowls are popular all over the world as a staple livestock species and are in fact more numerous than any other bird. There are actually more chickens than humans by a wide margin, with a global population of well over 20 billion.
According to data shared by Encyclopedia Britannica, the average chicken stands a bit under 70 centimeters. Now, if we do the math, we see that asteroid 2023 NY is over 35 chickens in size, assuming that those chickens are lined up in a row.
Fowl news: Is an asteroid going to hit the Earth in 2023?
To make a long story short and avoid the drumroll fanfare – or rather the drumstick-roll fanfare – an asteroid could in theory still hit the Earth in 2023. The rationale behind this is the fact that an asteroid already has hit the Earth this year.
Back in February, asteroid 2023 CX1, which was around the size of two Super Bowl trophies, managed to hit the Earth near Normandy, France.
As such, there's no reason this can't happen again. Furthermore, there are also plenty of meteors that have already hit the Earth this year, with one of them having exploded above Israel.
But it should be noted that the aforementioned asteroid impact, as well as the many meteor impacts, all did little to no damage – some exceptions include a meteor that somewhat damaged a building in New Jersey.
However, in terms of a major catastrophic asteroid impact, the Earth is thought to be free of risk of this for the next century.
And even if asteroid 2023 NY did hit, it's so small that any damage aside from a loud noise would be minimal as it explodes in the atmosphere.
All of this is a moot point anyway though since asteroid 2023 NY isn't going to hit the Earth, with it being set to pass over 4 million kilometers away from the planet.
Cock-a-doodle-doomsday: Do we have any way to stop an asteroid from hitting the Earth?
Yeah, and we won't be winging it – both the theory and the practical applications of this are sound.
Scientific efforts have resulted in a few different proposed methods for defending the Earth from an asteroid impact. The most promising method so far is NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission, which has already succeeded in punching an asteroid, thereby altering its orbit.
So next time you ask, why did the asteroid cross the road, the answer is that it didn't hit Earth and even if it did, it was deflected elsewhere. Keep an eye out for chickens instead though, because those things are everywhere.