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Asteroid larger than two football pitches is heading towards Earth

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The space rock regularly passes by Earth every 732 days as it orbits the Sun (Picture: Nasa)
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NASA has warned of a giant asteroid hurtling towards Earth that will make a “close approach” this weekend.

According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, the asteroid – known as 2008 TZ3 – will pass Earth around 6:37 GMT on Sunday.

This space rock regularly passes by Earth every 732 days in orbit around the Sun.

The asteroid is around 490m wide and around 0.219km to 0.490km in diameter, meaning it can easily fit in two football pitches.

The closest the asteroid is expected to reach with Earth is 5,740,000 km.

That’s more than the distance between Earth and the Moon which is about 385,000 km – so you’ll probably be fine.

But scientists have classified the space rock as “potentially dangerous” due to its size, as an asteroid of this size could cause devastating damage if it hits Earth.


What is a “potentially dangerous” asteroid?

NASA defines Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) based on metrics that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to Earth.

All asteroids that are within 7479894 km of Earth are considered PHAs.

For perspective, the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs was about 10-15 km wide.

In 1908, another asteroid about 100-200m in diameter crashed into eastern Siberia, flattening entire forests.

This is not the first time that a gigantic asteroid has touched our planet.

In February, an asteroid four times the size of the Shard passed Earth – but luckily nothing terrible happened.

MORE: China announces plan to eliminate Earth-heading asteroids

MORE: NASA has spent the last month preparing for an asteroid impact

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