Measuring an impressive 470 metres in diameter, the gargantuan space missile will pass by Earth at a distance of only 310,000 miles – which is only around 30 percent further away than the Moon.
It is believed that the asteroid is part of a broken comet, and the object will be visible with a telescope as it crosses through the Orion constellation. This will be the largest known asteroid to fly by in recent times.
While amateur astronomers are chomping at the bit for the passing by for some great viewing, the fact that the asteroid was only discovered 10 days prior to its flyby shows just how much the human race may be at the mercy of a potential civilisation killer should one ever set its bullseye on Earth.
It’s believed that asteroid deflection techniques are a good option to deflect potentially dangerous asteroids from our path, however at this range, such a technique would be useless.
“From the information we have, we don’t know of an asteroid that will threaten the population of the United States,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stated back in 2013. “But if it’s coming in three weeks… pray.”