NASA is keeping a close eye on a gigantic asteroid hurtling past Earth today.
The rogue space rock 2008 KV2 is the size of three football pitches and is zipping through space at seven miles per second.
An asteroid the size of three football pitches is due to whizz past Earth today (stock)[/caption]
Nasa classes it as a near-Earth object (NEO), one of thousands the space agency keeps track of in case they threaten to hit our planet.
But KV2 is a little different than most, largely because of its size.
At up to 330 metres across, the gargantuan object is huge by NEO standards.
It’ll pass within about 4million miles of Earth just after 10:00pm BST this evening.
Nasa does not think the space rock will hit Earth (stock)[/caption]
That’s about 17 times the distance between our planet and the Moon – a relatively close shave in space terms.
Nasa considers anything passing within 120million miles of Earth a NEO. Just a small change to its trajectory could spell trouble for Earth.
Fortunately, KV2 does not pose a threat to life on Earth.
Nasa believes none of the thousands of NEOs that it keeps an eye on are currently on a collision course with our planet.
The 2019 asteroid that could careen into Earth
Here's everything you need to know…
- A huge asteroid soaring close to Earth in September has a slim chance of hitting us.
- The European Space Agency (ESA) has listed the asteroid as the fourth most concerning object on its top 10 list of space objects that have a slim chance of crashing into our planet.
- The asteroid is called 2006 QV89 and it is currently travelling at around 27,400 miles per hour.
- Scientists think that it is has a a one in 7,299 chance of hitting Earth.
- If the impact does happen then it will occur on September 9 later this year and it’s only half the size of the meteor that exploded over Russia in 2013, which shattered windows and injured 1,500 people.
- Current predictions state that the asteroid will pass Earth at a distance of over 4.2 million miles but the ESA thinks there is a one hundredth of 1% chance that this prediction is wrong.
- The diameter of the asteroid is up to 164 feet, which is slightly bigger than the Tunguska meteorite that smashed into Earth in 1908.
- The Tunguska impact flattened an area bigger than London so 2006 QV89 could be capable of much more as it is 34 feet wider in diameter.
“Nasa knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small,” it says.
“In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.”
Even if they were to hit our planet, asteroids of this size would not wipe out life as we know it.
“Global catastrophes” are only triggered when objects larger than 1,000 metres smash into Earth, according to Nasa.
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Nasa released its best photos of yet of a potential doomsday asteroid known as Bennu in March.
But you needn’t worry if an apocalypse is on its way, Nasa recently admitted that it would tell the world if it knew the planet was about to be destroyed, rather than keeping it secret to help its top boffins survive.
And here are five times the world was supposed to end… but didn’t.
Are you worried about today’s asteroid flyby? Let us know in the comments!
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