A GIGANTIC asteroid the size of a mountain will careen past Earth next month.
Dubbed 1998 OR2, the space rock will be so big that amateur skygazers will be able to spot it as it streaks across the heavens on April 29.
Nasa has classed the object as “potentially hazardous” although experts do not believe it will hit our planet.
Instead, OR2 is expected to sail safely past at a distance of around 4million miles – or about 17 times the distance from Earth to the Moon.
That may sound like a long way, but it’s close enough that Nasa classes the asteroid as a “Near Earth Object” (NEO).
Scientists are keeping a very close eye on it just in case.
At up to 2.5 miles long, the asteroid is taller than Japan’s enormous Mount Fuji.
That makes it large enough to spot with a telescope on a clear night.
Apparently, the asteroid will look like a “slow-moving star” as it zips past our planet.
Nasa considers anything passing within 120million miles of Earth a NEO.
Astronomers are currently tracking nearly 2,000 asteroids, comets and other objects that threaten our pale blue dot, and new ones are found every day.
Earth hasn’t seen an asteroid of apocalyptic scale since the space rock that wiped out the dinosaurs 66million years ago.
However, smaller objects capable of flattening an entire city crash into Earth every so often.
One a few hundred metres across devastated 800 square miles of forest near Tunguska in Siberia on June 30, 1908.
Luckily, Nasa doesn’t believe any of the NEOs it keeps an eye on are on a collision course with our planet.
That could change in the coming months or years, however, as the space agency constantly revises objects’ predicted trajectories.
“Nasa knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small,” Nasa says.
“In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.”
Even if they were to hit our planet, the vast majority of asteroids would not wipe out life as we know it.
“Global catastrophes” are only triggered when objects larger than 900 metres smash into Earth, according to Nasa.
In other news, it recently emerged that an asteroid obliterated early human civilisations in a catastrophic collision with Earth 13,000 years ago.
Scientists have discovered a “Super-Earth” 31 light-years away that humans could one day colonise.
And, distant planets may host even more life than we have here on Earth, according to one shock study.
Are you worried about an asteroid strike? Let us know in the comments!