THE largest asteroid to get up close and personal with Earth this year will make its knee-wobbling flyby this week.
The space rock, named 7335 (1989 JA), will soar within 2.5million miles (4m km) of our pale blue dot on May 27, according to Nasa.
That’s about ten times the distance between the Earth and the Moon – a stone’s throw in space terms.
What makes 7335 stand out, however, is its gargantuan size.
According to Nasa’s close approaches database, the rock is up to 1.1 miles (1.8 km) wide.
That makes it four times bigger than the Empire State Building, or as tall as 1,000 people stacked on top of one another.
Asteroid 7335 is travelling faster than a bullet but does not pose any immediate threat to our planet.
The object hurtles past roughly once every seven years, giving scientists a chance to examine it up close.
It’s expected to make this year’s flyby at 3:26 p.m. UK time (10:26 a.m. EST) on May 27, according to Nasa.
It’s one of seven space objects expected to make what Nasa calls “close approaches” this week.
Fortunately, nothing being tracked by the space agency is thought to pose any danger to us.
Astronomers are currently tracking 2,000 asteroids, comets and other objects that could one day threaten our pale blue dot, and new ones are discovered frequently.
Earth hasn’t seen an asteroid of apocalyptic scale since the space rock that wiped out the dinosaurs 66million years ago.
However, smaller objects capable of flattening an entire city crash into Earth every so often.
One a few hundred metres across devastated 800 square miles of forest near Tunguska in Siberia on June 30, 1908.
Fortunately, Nasa doesn’t believe any of the NEOs it keeps an eye on are on a collision course with our planet.
That could change in the coming months or years, however, as the space agency frequently revises objects’ predicted trajectories.
“Nasa knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small,” Nasa 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 one were to hit our planet, the vast majority of asteroids would not wipe out life as we know it.
“Global catastrophes” are only triggered when objects larger than 900 metres across smash into Earth, according to Nasa.
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