A gigantic asteroid the size of a skyscraper is set to approach Earth early next week.
The enormous space rock, dubbed 2023 CM, measures about 180m (around 590ft) in length, about as long as the Gherkin or the BT Tower in London, and is set to whizz past our planet at an eye-watering speed of 50,474 kilometres per hour (31,363mph) on March 14.
NASA first spotted the asteroid on February 2 of this year and has been keeping an eye on the rock ever since in preparation for its close encounter next Tuesday.
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The space rock, named 2023 CM, is considered pretty fast, especially given its size, with most asteroids travelling between 25,000 and 40,000 kilometres per hour.
This means that were the asteroid to get too close, it could cause some serious damage to planet and potentially even endanger human lives.
However at its nearest, NASA expects the rock to come within 3.94 million kilometers of the Earth's surface – a pretty safe distance.
The news comes following reports that an asteroid could "impact Earth" in 2046.
The newly-discovered asteroid, 2023 DW, could slam into the planet on Valentine's Day in 23 years' time, but it is currently unclear where exactly it will hit and how badly the damage could be.
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NASA asteroid watch issued a statement saying: “We've been tracking a new asteroid named 2023 DW that has a very small chance of impacting Earth in 2046.
"Often when new objects are first discovered, it takes several weeks of data to reduce the uncertainties and adequately predict their orbits years into the future.
“Orbit analysts will continue to monitor asteroid 2023 DW and update predictions as more data comes in.”
This asteroid is a bit smaller than 2023 CM at around 49.29 metres in diameter – just shy of the length of an Olympic swimming pool.
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The space agency has estimated the space rock takes around 271 days to complete one solar orbit, and its closest distance to the Sun will be 0.49 Astronomical Units, the equivalent of about 75 million kilometres.
No official warnings or danger to live threats have been issued by NASA at this stage, and likely won't until nearer the time of the possible impact.
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