Nasa says Asteroid 86666 is one of the biggest to come close to Earth in recent times
It should fly safely past earth, but astronomers are keeping a close eye on 86666 (2000 FL10) which, according to NASA, will be one of the biggest to pass close to our planet in recent times.The giant lump of rock is currently hurtling through space at 40,000 miles an hour. The asteroid’s exact size is still unclear though it is estimated to be between 0.7miles metres and 1.6 miles wide – more than 15 times bigger than other asteroids currently on Nasa’s radar.
A collision would be nothing short of catastrophic with the rock fragment thought to be around a quarter of the size of Mount Everest.
Nasa has released an animated projection of the asteroid’s path, which you can watch below. 86666 appears from the top left of the screen as it nears Earth’s orbit.
NASA has released this projection of the asteroid’s path
It makes 2014-YB35, which had worried astronomers around the world watching the skies in March, pale into insignificance.
Bill Napier, professor of astronomy at the University of Buckinghamshire, said if a sizeable asteroid hit Earth it could “take out a small country”.
Asteroid 86666 will pass outside of the moon’s orbit of the earth
“If one of these things does strike in the wrong place it could easily take out a small country.”
Scientists around the world are monitoring the asteroid’s progress as it nears Earth