PUBLISHED: 22:17, Thu, Jan 16, 2020 | UPDATED: 22:30, Thu, Jan 16, 2020
The colossal asteroid dubbed by NASA 2020 AN3 is expected to close in on Earth tomorrow (January 17). NASA expects the rock to show up around 1.35am GMT (8.35pm EST) on what has been called an “Earth close approach”.
If the news of a close approach is not terrifying enough, NASA estimates the space rock measures up to 1,673ft (510m) across.
Any asteroid this big is roughly five times taller than Big Ben’s clocktower in London.
The asteroid would also dwarf the 95-storey Shard and as many as 60 London double-decker buses lined up in a row.
Asteroid 2020 AN3 will approach the planet tomorrow because it has been classified as an NEO or Near-Earth Object.
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NASA considers any comet or asteroid racing around the Sun an NEO if its orbit does not exceed 1.3 astronomical units.
These objects are trapped within the inner confines of the solar system and often cross paths with our planet.
Although most asteroid flybys are harmless, an asteroid will occasionally slam into Earth to cataclysmic effect.
According to NASA, any object at the upper end of Asteroid AN3’s size estimate could potentially kill thousands if not millions upon impact.
NASA said: “If a rocky meteoroid larger than 25m but smaller than one kilometre – a little more than one-and-half mile – were to hit Earth, it would likely cause local damage