Huge Asteroid As Big As World's Tallest Building to Zoom Past Earth in November

An enormous asteroid as big as the word's largest building is set to zoom past the Earth in November, figures from NASA's Center for Near-Earth Studies (CNEOS) show.

The massive space rock, dubbed 2000 WO107, is estimated to measure up to around 2,960 feet in diameter.

This means it could be almost exactly the same height as the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai—the tallest structure on Earth.

"That's on the larger side of what we are normally seeing," Detlef Koschny from the European Space Agency (ESA) told Newsweek.

The asteroid is set to make its close approach to Earth at 1:08 a.m. ET on November 29, acceding to the CNEOS.

At this point, astronomers estimate that the space rock will likely come within around 2.6 million miles of our planet.

The orbit of this near-Earth Object (NEO) is well-known and Koschny said the asteroid is not on the ESA's "risk list."

"We know the orbit well enough to be able to exclude even a small chance of it hitting our planet. We have observed the object between 2000 and 2018, so the orbit is well known," he said.

Near-Earth objects are any asteroid or comet orbiting the sun that are predicted to come within 121 million miles of our star, or 30 million miles of the Earth's own orbital path in the foreseeable future.

Fortunately for us, there is no chance of 2000 WO107 striking the Earth. If an object of this size did collide with our planet, "it would do quite some damage" on a regional scale, Koschny said.

"It will reach the ground and could produce an impact crater of about 10 kilometers [6.2 miles] diameter, with the associated shock waves, winds, thermal radiation. It would definitely affect an area like Europe," he said.

The CNEOS data shows that 2000 WO107 is among the largest space rocks to make a close approach to Earth in 2020.

Koschny said scientists know of about 5,000 NEOs with an estimated diameter of between 300 and 1,000 meters (984 and 3,280 feet) in diameter, although there could be a similar number in existence that are yet to be discovered.

For objects larger than 1,000 meters, Koschny said we know of slightly more than 900. This is around 95 percent of the number that are predicted to exist.

NEOs that have an estimated diameter of more than 460 feet and are predicted to come within 4.6 million miles of Earth in future are defined as a "potentially hazardous."

asteroid
Stock image: Artist's illustration of an asteroid. A huge space rock is set to zoom past Earth in November. iStock