The asteroid, named 2006 QQ23, is twice the size of London’s Shard. A “potentially hazardous” asteroid is one that could cause “significant regional damage” if it slams into Earth, sparking worry on social media. However scientists insist 2006 QQ23 will pass the planet without impacting, and will be further away than the Moon.
A previous asteroid is believed to have been responsible for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago, which wiped out the dinosaurs.
NASA predicts the asteroid will be about 5 million miles from Earth as it passes.
Speaking to ABC News Lindley Johnson, a NASA Planetary Defence Officer, described this as “just barely into the zone that we start to keep closer track of these objects”.
He added: “There’s nothing really special about this.
“We have objects, asteroids of this seize that pass within 5 million miles of the earth six, seven times out of the year.
“The bottom line is this happens all the time, which people don’t realise.”
A larger asteroid, believed to be around 1,700 foot long, is expected to pass Earth later in the year.
It is expected to shoot by on September 14, coming within 3.5 million miles of the planet.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has previously warned about the dangers of an asteroid collision.
Whilst no collision is predicted over the next 100 years he warned it couldn’t be completely ruled out.
Mr Bridenstein commented: “We have to make sure that people understand that this is not about Hollywood, it’s not about the movies.
“This is about ultimately protecting the only planet we know, right now, to host life – and that is the planet Earth.”