The European Space Agency (ESA) believes that there’s a chance that Earth might suffer a direct impact from an asteroid in September. The asteroid has been listed by the agency as the fourth most dangerous near-Earth object approaching the planet.

For years, the ESA has been closely monitoring its Risk List, which catalogues near-Earth objects that are on a possible collision course with the planet.

According to the list, the asteroid dubbed as 2006 QV89 is currently on its way to Earth. Right now, it is about 4.2 million miles away but it is expected to approach Earth at 1.6 million miles on Sept. 9.

The asteroid has a diameter of 164 feet, making it longer than a standard football field. It is also larger than the meteor that exploded and caused the Tunguska event in Russia in 1908. The explosion completely destroyed about 770 square miles of forest, which is almost as big as the land area of Jacksonville, Florida.

As indicated in the catalogue, the asteroid has a slight chance of diverting from its path and hitting Earth. This can happen due to a number of factors such as If the asteroid collides with another object in space or if the gravitational pull of a planet or larger cosmic body pulls it away from its current trajectory.

If any of these happen, 2006 QV89 could end up on a straight path toward Earth. Fortunately, the ESA believes the asteroid has only a one in 7,000 chance of changing its path and hitting the planet.

Topping the ESA’s Risk List is asteroid 2010 RF12. According to the space agency’s data, this asteroid is expected to fly by Earth on Sept. 23, 2022 from a distance of 0.06847 astronomical units or roughly 6.4 million miles away.

Although the asteroid will be very far from the planet when it approaches on 2022, Earth’s inhabitants in the year 2095 might not be so lucky. According to ESA, the asteroid has a one in 16 chance of colliding with Earth during this time.

Currently, there are about 870 asteroids that the ESA is closely monitoring through its Risk List.

asteroid impact A recently-discovered 250-mile area located in the central Australian outback might be the largest asteroid impact crater ever recorded. Photo: NASA/Don Davis