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‘Potentially Hazardous’ Asteroid Set To Fly Within Miles Of Earth Today

A 'potentially hazardous' asteroid is set to fly within miles of Earth today. 
Credit: Alamy

A ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid is set to fly within miles of Earth today, NASA says. 

The independent space agency says that the space rock is estimated to be twice the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

It’s been named 2023 FM and is believed to be 853ft (260m) in diameter.

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It’s also an Apollo asteroid, which means it crosses the orbit of the Earth – just like the asteroid named ‘Apollo’ back in 1862, which was the first-ever to be observed doing this.

Although it’s not clear where it has come from, most near-Earth asteroids tend to originate from the ‘main’ asteroid belt, which is situated between Jupiter and Mars.

The space agency has revealed that it should skim past the planet at around 14:09 BST or 09:09 EDT.

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There’s no need to panic though, as it’s still going to be far away, as it’s orbiting at a distance of 238,900 miles away (384,500 km) – which is further than the moon.

NASA says it has only been classified as a ‘potentially hazardous asteroid’ (PHA) because if it was to make an impact on the planet, it would cause significant damage.

Any asteroid that comes within 4.65 million miles (7.48 million km) of Earth and is at least 520 feet (159m) in diameter is classified as a PHA.

Asteroid heading to Earth.
The ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid is set to fly within miles of Earth today, NASA says. Credit: Alamy

NASA says that approximately 100 rocky particles land on Earth every day and ones that are the size of football fields typically hit the planet every 2,000 years.

While ones that could potentially end civilisation happen every few million years – but these rocks are closely monitored.

There’s an actual scale for asteroids that rates the likelihood of them hitting the planet – the Torino Scale.

It’s a one-to-ten chart, from 0 (won’t hit Earth) and 10 (it will hit Earth and could potentially be catastrophic).

At this moment in time, all known asteroids are ranked at 0.

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But earlier this month, NASA warned that a city-destroying asteroid – around the size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa – could hit Earth in around twenty years or so.

It’s possible it could crash into the planet on Valentine’s Day 2046, reports MailOnline.

However, it’s not known whereabouts it would land.

The predicted impact zone stretches from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and all the way out to the west and east coast of the US.

If this collision was to happen, it would be comparable to the Tunguska 12-megaton event that hit Siberia around 114 years ago.

This 160-foot asteroid caused a nuclear explosion at the time – which could have destroyed a large metropolitan area.

Instead, it landed in a forest, flattening more than 80 million trees.

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Written by Aimee Walker

Aimee is a senior content editor at IGV who specialises in finding the best original stories, trending topics and entertainment news. She graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Media and Communications.