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NASA asteroid warning

NASA asteroid warning
08 Nov

A trio of enormous asteroids will skim past Earth this weekend, Nasa has warned.

Scientists predict that the largest of the space rocks, dubbed 2018 VR1, is up to 100 feet (30 metres) wide - as long as a blue whale.

Nasa expects the asteroids to make 'close approaches' with our planet on Saturday.

The space rock 2018 VS1 is predicted to pass by Earth first by scientists at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

It will skim our planet at a distance of just 861,700 miles (1,386,771 km) at around 2:03pm GMT (9:03am ET) on Saturday, November 10.

The asteroid measures between 42 and 92 feet (13 to 28 metres) across, but is not expected to hit our planet.

Just 16 minutes later, the largest of the three asteroids, 2018 VR1, will fire past Earth.

The space rock's trajectory will take it to within 3.12 million miles (5 million km) of Earth - a reassuring distance considering its size.

The final and closest flyby of the weekend will see the object VX1 pass Earth at around 6:21pm GMT (13:21 ET) on Saturday.

VX1 will shoot past Earth at a distance of just 237,037 miles (381,474 km) - closer to us than the moon.

While the distances may appear huge, Nasa classifies them as 'close approaches.'

'As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth,' the space agency said.

'Note that a "close" passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometres.'

An asteroid is a large chunk of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the Asteroid Belt.

A comet is a rock covered in ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much further out of the solar system.

A meteor is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns up.

This debris itself is known as a meteoroid. Most are so small they are vapourised in the atmosphere.

If any of this meteoroid makes it to Earth, it is called a meteorite.

Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites normally originate from asteroids and comets.

For example, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.