Tue. Oct 20th, 2020

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Asteroid ‘taller than Nelson’s Column’ racing towards Earth’s orbit at 30,000mph

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NASA is tracking a giant asteroid which could be almost double the size of Nelson’s Column in London – and it is set to enter with Earth’s orbit.

The Space Administration has dubbed the rock 2020 TGI, and it is expected to whizz by on Thursday, October 22.

It is classed as an Apollo asteroid, which is a space rock which crosses the orbit of the Earth as they pass through space.

Asteroid 2020 TGI is estimated to be travelling at a whopping speed of 8.53 miles per second, which is equivalent to 30,703 miles per hour.

The space rock is expected to pass our planet safely at a distance of 18.30 lunar units.

In simple terms, that's 7,027,201 miles away from Earth.

It will fly by at 10.49pm Eastern Standard Time, is 3.49am on October 23 in British Standard Time.

Asteroid 2020 TGI will be anywhere between 43m to 100m wide and is the biggest rocket to whizz past planet Earth next week.

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To put this into perspective, the asteroid is in theory the size of Nelson's Column in London, and has the potential to be nearly twice as big as the iconic landmark.

Nelson's Column measures 51.64 m from the first step of the pedestal's base to the top of the statue's hat.

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

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 they can cause problems for weather systems.

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