Asteroid ‘size of St Paul’s Cathedral’ racing towards Earth’s Orbit at 51,000mph

An asteroid the size of St Paul’s Cathedral is one of three rocks hurtling through space towards Earth’s Orbit.

NASA is tracking three asteroids set to collide with Earth’s orbit over the weekend of February 20.

Each asteroid is similar in size, but the biggest, Asteroid 20201 CR3, which is estimated to be between 74 and 170m, has the potential to be the size of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Asteroid CR3 will fly by Earth on Saturday at 22:15 Eastern Standard Time, equivalent to 3:13am on Sunday in Greenwich Mean Time.

It is currently travelling at a whopping speed of 22.99 kilometre per second, NASA’s Close Approach table claims.

To put this into perspective, that’s about 51,000 Earth miles per hour.

Space rock 2021 CU3, which is estimated to be between 69m and 170m, will also fly by the planet on the same day.

It will visit much earlier however, gracing the skies at around 04.58am EST, or 9.58am GMT.

Sadly, the rock will not be able to be seen from Earth so keen stargazers won’t be able to put their telescopes to good use.

During the day, one last asteroid will shoot past the planet, with asteroid CC2 zipping past at around 6.44pm.

The space rock is a bit smaller than the other two asteroids, measuring between 71m and just 160m at its upper limit.

NASA tracks thousands of asteroids a year, all of which make it safely past the planet but collide with Earth's orbit.

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Interestingly, the two biggest asteroids that will pass, CU3 and CR3, have 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 the Earth.

The smaller asteroid, CC2 is an Aten asteroid, which are a lively group of asteroids whose orbits bring them into proximity with the Earth.

Aten asteroids are typically known as the most volatile type of asteroids, and many Aten space rocks are classified as potentially hazardous.

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