On September 8, an asteroid known as 2020 PT4 will shoot by the Earth and the Moon, in what NASA is describing as a “near Earth” approach. The asteroid is a 36-metre long space rock, making it almost twice as long as an 18-wheeler truck.
NASA has said the asteroid is travelling at a whopping 12.6 kilometres per second, or 45,360 kilometres per hour.
At that speed, it could travel from the UK to New York more than eight times in a single hour.
The space rock will pass 4.9 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 1,883,153 kilometres.
Nonetheless, NASA has described it as a near-Earth object (NEO), meaning it is the perfect opportunity to study the solar system.
While the chances of a major asteroid hitting Earth are small – NASA believes there is a one in 300,000 chance every year that a space rock which could cause regional damage will hit – the devastating prospect is not impossible.
This is why there are now plans in the pipeline which could help Earth from asteroids.
NASA is currently studying Asteroid Bennu, where its OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft arrived last year.
Part of the reason NASA is sending the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft there is to gather more information about the space rock which is 500 metres in length.