Asteroid WARNING: Nasa-tracked asteroid 2018 NM to skim Earth TOMORROW | Science | News

The space rock dubbed 2018 NM will skim past the planet in the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 17.

NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) predicts the asteroid will zoom by the moon around 4.26am BST (3.26am UT) and fly by Earth around 6.29am BST (5.29am UT).

The asteroid is currently speeding towards our planet at breakneck speeds of 6.7 kilometres per second or 14,987mph.

If it were to hit, an asteroid impact of this size could cause grave damage.

Asteroid NM 2018 is estimated to be about 62 feet (19m) in size or the equivalent of two London red buses.

Thankfully even at its closest approach to the planet the asteroid will be more than the distance of the moon from Earth.

Space experts at JPL calculate the nominal distance from Earth to 2018 NM will be about 0.00348 Astronomical Units or 333,332 miles – about 100,000 miles beyond the moon.

At its closest minimum distance the asteroid might approach within 332,608 miles of the planet.

The ephemeris map above shows the asteroid’s orbital path past the Earth and the moon.

The asteroid will sling by the planet tomorrow and continue on its journey around the solar system past the orbit of Mars.

According to NASA, the last time the asteroid approached the Earth this closely was on the afternoon of July 13, 1983.

Asteroid 2018 NM is just one of around 11 asteroids to approach the planet this July.

But only one of the asteroids is large enough to raise alarm bells at NASA or be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA).

PHAs are rogue space rocks larger than 328 feet (100m) in size which have the potential to come within 0.05 AU or 4,646,404 miles of the planet.

This weekend on Saturday, July 21, an asteroid 367 feet in size will approach Earth within 4,478,616 miles.

Towards the start of September at least two more asteroids measuring than 328 feet inside will make a flyby but will be too far out to cause any concern.

To date, NASA has discovered more than 18,000 so-called Near-Earth Object asteroids barrelling through space.

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