The space rock is twice the size of London’s Shard. Sitthiporn Duantakhu, an official of the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, has sought to calm fears after social media users prophesied an apocalyptic doomsday. As reported by Nation Thailand, Mr Duantakhu said there was no need for panic as the asteroid’s orbit brings it close to our planet and this was not a rare occurrence.
He insisted NASA was monitoring the asteroid to learn more about the celestial objects rather than out of fear of a collision.
Though the distance of 195 million miles it is expected to come within plus its size mean 2006 QQ23 is classed as potentially hazardous, Mr Duantakhu said this was further away than the Moon.
2006 QQ23 is not expected to collide with Earth, nor is any other asteroid for at leat the next century.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has warned protection from potential hits must still be developed.
The former Republican congressman explained: “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.”
NASA is in the process of developing the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) to defend the planet.
DART will attempt to redirect asteroids away before they can collide with Earth.
The project will hope to use a special spacecraft and launch a test in summer 2021.
It will attempt to knock one of the Didymos asteroids out of orbit.
The project will occur in the September after the test.
NASA was formed in 1958 as a successor to NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) which had been formed way back in 1915.