Asteroid the size of Leaning Tower of Pisa to make close approach to Earth

An asteroid which is the same size as the Leaning Tower of Pisa is to make a close approach to Earth next week.

The space rock, named 2015MB54, appears on both the European Space Agency (ESA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) asteroid watchlists, meaning it is being monitored by both agencies' top experts.

2015MB54 is listed as being 60m in diameter according to the ESA, making it slightly larger than Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is 57m tall.

It is said to be travelling at a whopping 3.7 kilometres per second and will zoom past our planet on Tuesday, April 6.

2015MB54 has been classed as Apollo space rocks by NASA.

Apollo asteroids are a group of near-Earth asteroids that have an orbit axis greater than that of Earth.

NASA reports that the asteroid will pass at a distance of 3,230,000 miles from Earth.

The average distance between Earth and the moon is about 239,000 miles

NASA tracks thousands of asteroids a year, all of which make it safely past the planet but collide with Earth's orbit and there are more than 18,000 near-Earth asteroids.

It comes after NASA said the fearsome "God of Chaos" asteroid won't hit Earth for another 100 years.

The US space agency ruled out the 1,115ft peanut-shaped space rock smashing into our planet and causing a blast equivalent to 880 million tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT) exploding all at once in 2068.

Dr Davide Farnocchia, of NASA's centre for near-Earth object studies, said in a statement: "A 2068 impact is not in the realm of possibility any more, and our calculations don’t show any impact risk for at least the next 100 years."

The asteroid is named after the Greek god of chaos, Apophis, and has been tracked by astronomers since its discovery in 2004.

It makes the round trip around the Sun every 324 days but has a wobbly orbit that could see it one day collide with Earth.

The last notably large asteroid close approach was that of 1998 OR2 on April 29, 2020.

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