AN ASTEROID capable of ending human civilisation if it hits will approach our planet in April, NASA’s asteroid trackers have confirmed.
The asteroid is being watched by NASA’s automated tracking systems at the Center for Near Earth Object Studies in California, US. The asteroid has been officially called 52768 (1998 OR2) and is estimated measure up 2.5 miles (4.1km) across.
An object this big could potentially spell the end of the human race if it strikes the planet.
NASA estimates the rock is heading our way at speeds of about 8.7km per second or 19,461mph (31,320kmh).
At this rate, the asteroid will close-in on Earth on April 29.
When this happens, NASA said the asteroid will make a “close approach” to our planet.
According to the Planetary Society, an asteroid bigger than 0.6 miles (1km) across is big enough to threaten global destruction.
Astronomers estimate such objects have a one in 50,000 chance of hitting Earth every 100 years.
The Planetary Society lists the following impacts: “A crater of 10km or more: global devastation and possible collapse of civilisation.”
Dr Bruce Betts from the international group of astronomers said: “Small asteroids – few metres – hit frequently and burn up in the atmosphere and do little damage.
“Chelyabinsk size asteroids – about 20m that hit in 2013 – create shock waves that shatter windows and cause injuries.
“Tunguska sized – about 40m that hit Siberia in 1908 – could completely destroy a city or create a tsunami.
“Larger asteroids that hit on average less often could cause regional destruction.