NASA tracking giant asteroid set to collide with Earth’s orbit at 44,000mph

A giant asteroid travelling over 44,000mph is set to collide with Earth’s orbit next week, NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Objects claims.

Asteroids routinely come into close contact with Earth, and NASA’s NEO centre tracks them all in a table.

The space rocks are usually on the small side, under 150m, but the space station has identified a big one, and it’s set to collide with Earth’s orbit.

According to the table, asteroid 1999 RM45 will zip safely past Earth on March 2 at around 7.52pm Eastern Standard time, the equivalent to 12.53am on March 3 in Greenwich Mean Time.

1999 RM45 will be travelling at a whopping speed of 20.4 kilometres per second, 44,828 miles per hour.

It is estimated to between 310m and 680m and is classed as an Apollo asteroid.

An Apollo asteroid is one that comes into contact with Earth’s orbit as it passes through space.

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Apollo asteroids tend to be the most common type of asteroid, but Aten and Amor space rocks also frequently grace our skies.

Unlike the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, asteroid 1999 RM45 will pass safely at a distance of 7.62 LD [Lunar Distance] or 0.01959 AU [Aeronautical Miles].

This isn't the first time the asteroid has passed the blue planet, and it was first observed by astronomers on September 14, 1999.

It has zipped past every year since, and will next fly by on the 5th January 2022, NASA's data states.

A Near-Earth object is any small Solar System body, including comets, whose orbit brings it to proximity with Earth.

NASA's National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan has previously warned asteroids up to 1km in diameter can initiative a chain of devastating events.

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Astronomers are currently tracking nearly 2,000 asteroids, comets and other objects that threaten our planet.

Earth hasn't seen an asteroid of apocalyptic scale since the space rock that wiped out the dinosaurs 66million years ago.

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