Asteroid twice the size of Big Ben crashes into Earth orbit this week, says NASA

NASA is tracking a large asteroid which could be up to 220 metres wide and is heading towards Earth's orbit.

The asteroid, labelled 2008 GO20, is double the size of the infamous London landmark Big Ben.

The space rock will fly through the Earth's orbit safely next Saturday, July 24 at 15:35 Eastern time which is 20:35 here in the UK.

The orbit is classified under the term 'Apollo'.

An 'Apollo' asteroid is described as a near-Earth asteroid which crosses the Earth's orbit similar to that of 1862 Apollo.

Despite the proximity to Earth there is an extremely low chance that it would make contact with the Earth's surface.

The asteroid will pass by Earth safely at a speed of eight kilometres a second, equivalent to 17,895mph.

To put the asteroid's size into perspective 2008 GO20, at its largest estimate is taller than The Gherkin, double the size of Big Ben and three times taller than Tower Bridge.

The Daily Star reported on another asteroid which passed through the Earth's orbit last September.

The asteroid 2020 PMZ was estimated to be almost as wide as San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is tall.

2020 PMZ passed through the Earth's orbit safely at 1,783,862 miles away.

The asteroid expected next Saturday will pass the orbit even further out than 2020 PMZ, 11 times the distance between the Earth and Moon.

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The asteroid has been listed on NASA's near-Earth Objects (NEOs) Close Approaches website, where the space agency's team of astronomers are currently tracking around 2,000 space rocks, comets and other objects which could fly close to our planet.

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