An asteroid that could be bigger than London's Shard is expected to pass by Earth on June 1. According to Newsweek, the ice behemoth has been classified as 'potentially dangerous' by NASA, but it is expected to approach our planet without doing any damage. The aerospace agency usually determines whether an asteroid is potentially dangerous by looking at its size and distance from Earth. Known as 2021 KT1, the asteroid will begin a 'close descent' towards Earth on June 1 at about 2.24pm in the UK, according to NASA.
Between 150 and 330 metres in diameter
The word 'close' is a relative concept in cosmic terms. It is estimated that the distance the rock will actually pass in front of the Earth is about 4.5 million miles (7.24 million km). Although this is about 19 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon, NASA still considers the asteroid's descent to be a 'near pass' of the Earth in its data sheet, Newsweek reports.
The celestial body will pass in front of the Earth at a speed of about 40,000 mph (64,373 km/h), according to NASA. That's 20 times the speed of a rifle bullet, according to Newsweek. NASA estimates the asteroid's size to be between 150 and about 330 metres in diameter. That's about the size of three National Football League (NFL) fields, according to Washington Newsday.
No cause for worry... hopefully
But as NASA's Near Earth Object Study Center says, there is no reason to worry at this time. 'No one should be overly concerned about an asteroid or comet hitting Earth,' the centre said in a message on its website.
The threat to a person from road accidents, diseases, other natural disasters is much higher than the threat from near-Earth objects.
The institution added, however, that the chances of our planet being hit by an asteroid one day are slim but never zero. Check out the video above for more information on our chances.