Asteroid ‘taller than Statue of Liberty’ heading to Earth’s orbit at 35,000mph

NASA is tracking an asteroid which could potentially be taller than New York's iconic Statue of Liberty and is shooting towards Earth’s orbit this week.

The asteroid, called 2020 RJ3, is expected to fly-by our planet on October 1, 2020.

It is classed as an Apollo asteroid, the name given to space rocks which cross the orbit of Earth as they safely pass through.

NASA considers the asteroid a Near Earth Object (NEO), which NASA say refers to any comet or asteroid which hurtles within 1.3 astronomical units – the average distance between Earth and the Sun.

Space rock 2020 RJ3 is expected to pass our planet safely at a distance of 15.16 lunar units.

In simple terms, that's 3,621,061 miles miles away from Earth.

The asteroid will be travelling at a speed of 15.47 kilometres a second or 34,605 miles per hour.

It is predicted to be between 53m and 120m wide, or, 173ft to 393ft wide.

That means it could potentially be taller than New York's Statue of Liberty, which stands at 93m.

NASA's team of astronomers are currently tracking around 2,000 asteroids, comets and other objects which could fly close to Earth.

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According to NASA, a NEO is also a term used to describe "comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood".

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

Most asteroids will not come into contact with Earth's atmosphere, but in rare instances the giant space rocks can cause problems for weather systems.

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