A giant asteroid as large as the world’s largest building will fly past the Earth in November, according to figures from NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Studies (CNEOS).
The massive space rock, named 2000 WO107, is estimated to have a diameter of up to 2,960 feet.
This means it could be almost as high as the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai – the tallest structure on earth.
“It’s on the larger side of what we normally see,” Detlef Koschny of the European Space Agency (ESA) told Tekk.tv.
The asteroid will approach Earth on 29 November at 1:08 ET and join CNEOS.
At that time astronomers estimate that the space rock will probably approach our planet to within about 2.6 million miles.
The orbit of this Near-Earth Object (NEO) is known, and Koschny said the asteroid is not on ESA’s “risk list”.
“We know the orbit well enough to rule out even a slight probability that it will hit our planet. We observed the object between 2000 and 2018, so the orbit is well known,” he said.
Near-Earth objects include any asteroid or comet orbiting the Sun that is expected to be up to 121 million miles from our star or up to 30 million miles from Earth’s own orbit in the foreseeable future.
Fortunately for us, there is no chance that 2000 WO107 will hit the earth. If an object of this size were to collide with our planet, “it would cause quite a bit of damage on a regional scale,” Koschny said.
“It will reach the ground and could create an impact crater about 10 kilometers in diameter, with the shock waves, winds and thermal radiation that would be associated with it. It would definitely affect an area like Europe,” he said.
The CNEOS data show that 2000 WO107 is one of the largest space rocks that will approach the Earth in 2020.
Koshny said scientists know of about 5,000 NEOs with an estimated diameter of between 300 and 1,000 meters (984 and 3,280 feet), although there may be a similar number yet to be discovered.
For objects larger than 1,000 meters, Koschny said we know of just over 900, which is about 95 percent of the number predicted to exist.
NEOs that are estimated to be over 460 feet in diameter and are expected to be within 4.6 million miles of Earth in the future are defined as “potentially dangerous”.