JUST days after an asteroid was prophesied to collide with Earth and usher in the end of civilisation, NASA has announced a giant rock that has the potential to end life on the planet will speed past at 64,374km per hour on the weekend.
NASA experts believe Asteroid 86666 (2000 FL10), which could be up to 2.6km wide, will miss Earth when it passes by this weekend at 65.7LD (lunar distance) or a distance of 25,228,800km.
For reference, the distance from earth to the Mars is 54.6 million km.
If an asteroid the size of 86666 was to collide with Earth it would undoubtedly destroy the ozone layer, alter the climate and create tsunamis at least 91 metres high that would decimate coastal communities.
NASA has confirmed the asteroid was first spotted 16 years ago (5925 days), and is similar to the 1862 Apollo asteroid which was classified as a potentially hazardous object (PHO).
Ancient asteroids left giant craters
A PHO is an asteroid with an orbit that creates potential for close approaches with Earth and would cause significant damage if it were to make impact.
Any large asteroid that comes within 7,402,982km of Earth is considered a PHO.
But no “observed” asteroids or comets are expected to impact Earth “in the foreseeable future”, according to NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program.
The Near-Earth Object Observations Program, also known as “Spaceguard”, uses ground and space-based telescopes to track asteroids and comets passing within 48 million kilometres of Earth.
“All known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids have less than a 0.01% chance of impacting Earth in the next 100 years,” their website reads.
NASA to nuke asteroids
The last large asteroid to pass Earth was 2014-YB35 at a distance of 4.5 million kilometres on May 30.
NASA revelation of asteroid 86666 comes days after it was announced the government agency would work with the European Space Agency (ESA) on a new project, Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA).
They will study two asteroids, Didymos and Didymoon, to discover the best ways to prevent potential Earth impacts.