Asteroid 'bigger than London Bridge' set to collide with Earth's orbit next week

NASA is tracking an asteroid which is potentially bigger than London Bridge and set to collide with Earth's orbit next week.

The asteroid, called 2014 QJ33, is expected to fly-by our planet on September 17.

It is classed as an Apollo asteroid, the name given to space rocks which cross the orbit of the Earth.

This is in comparison to Amor asteroids which cross the orbit of Mars, but not Earth.

The giant space rock is a Near Earth Object (NEO), which NASA say refers to any comet or asteroid that hurtles at 1.3 astronomical units - the average distance between Earth and the Sun.

Asteroid 2014 QJ33 is expected to pass our planet safely at a distance of 6.67 lunar units. In simple terms, that's 1,592,819 miles away from Earth. 

The rock will be travelling at a speed of 8.66 kilometer a second or 19,371 miles per hour.

NASA predict 2014 QJ33 to be anywhere from 48m to 110m, or 157 to 360 feet, wide.

That means it could potentially be even bigger than London Bridge, which measures 340 feet, or 104 meters.


The space rock could be the same size as the iconic London landmark, London Bridge (Image: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra)

NASA's team of astronomers are currently tracking around 2,000 asteroids, comets and other objects that could fly close to Earth.

According to NASA, a NEO is also a term used to describe "comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighborhood."

Earth hasn't seen an asteroid of apocalyptic scale since the space rock that wiped out the dinosaurs 66million years ago.

Most asteroids will not come into contact with Earth's atmosphere, but in rare instances the giant space rocks can cause problems for weather systems.

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