(This article has been corrected to remove all suggestions that the asteroid poses any threat to life on Earth; also removed mentions, in headline and body text, that NASA had issued a warning on the asteroid's approach. The errors are regretted.)

NASA has detected one of the biggest asteroids in its tracker passing by Earth. 

The approaching asteroid, identified as 52768 (1998 OR2), is currently being monitored by NASA’ Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). According to the agency, this asteroid is currently moving at a speed of 31,320 kilometers per hour. It has an estimated diameter of 4.1 kilometers, making it significantly longer than the entire Hollywood Walk of Fame.

CNEOS noted that this mountain-sized asteroid is expected to fly safely past Earth on April 29, 2020. During this time, the asteroid is expected to be about 6.3 million kilometers from the planet’s center.

Although this seems like a very safe distance, 52768 (1998 OR2) is classified by CNEOS as a potentially hazardous asteroid. According to the agency, the asteroid is a member of the Amor family, which means it has a very wide orbit around the Earth and the Sun. Occasionally, the asteroid flies near the planet as it completes its cycle around the giant star.

Despite the asteroid’s near-Earth approach as well as its massive size, 52768 (1998 OR2) poses a no threat to the planet.

However, should asteroid’s of this size collide with Earth, it would create a crater that’s at least 50 kilometers wide. The massive explosion from the impact event would generate violent Earthquakes. It would also send molten debris flying into the sky and crashing on different parts of the world. The intense heatwave from the blast would travel for hundreds of kilometers, incinerating everything in its path.

Eventually, the dust and debris from the impact event would cover the atmosphere, preventing sunlight from penetrating and reaching the Earth’s surface. This event, known as a nuclear winter, would last for several months and could lead to the deaths of various species on the planet.  

Thankfully, Earth is pretty safe from 52768 (1998 OR2).