NASA tracking 275ft asteroid set to collide with Earth’s orbit at 24,000mph

NASA is tracking a huge asteroid which will approach Earth's orbit on Thursday (October 8).

The space agency's Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies has dubbed the rock (2020 SX3), after it was first observed by astrologists on August 19 this year.

It is estimated to measure between 124ft and 275ft in diameter, the equivalent of between 38m and 84m wide.

Astrologists have classed the asteroid as an Apollo asteroid, which is an asteroid that intersects Earth's orbit during its space journey.

Space rock 2020 SX3 is expected to approach Earth's orbit at 11:16am Eastern Standard Time, which is 4.14pm British Standard Time.

NASA's National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan has previously warned asteroids up to 1km in diameter can initiative a chain of devastating events.

NASA's report states: "Objects close to and larger than one kilometre can cause damage on a global scale.

"They can trigger earthquakes, tsunamis, and other secondary effects that extend far beyond the immediate impact area.

"An asteroid as large as 10 kilometres across is thought to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs when it struck the Yucatan peninsula some 65 million years ago."

  • NASA lists asteroid as tall as Golden Gate Bridge for a 'close approach'

However, it is extremely unlikely 2020 SX3 will cause damage to Earth and is predicted to zip past the planet at 24,293 miles per hour or 10.84 kilometres a second.

NASA is tracking the rock as it is classed as a Near Earth Object, which is a term for any asteroid or comet expected to come within 1.3 astronomical units – 150 million kilometres (93 million miles) – between Earth and the Sun.

But it is estimated to fly-by at a distance of 4.42 lunar distance away, which is around 1,055,511.

A NEO is a term used to describe "comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood".

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