NASA’s asteroid tracker has detected a massive near-Earth object that’s currently headed for the planet. According to the agency’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the approaching asteroid is almost twice as big as the Great Pyramid of Giza and is categorized as a "potentially hazardous asteroid" or PHA. 

Data collected by CNEOS on asteroid 2010 PK9 revealed that it is currently travelling at a speed of 37,000 miles per hour. The agency estimated that the asteroid is about 853 feet-long, which is big enough to dwarf some of the most well-known national monuments including the Washington Monument and the Statue of Liberty.

According to CNEOS, 2010 PK9 will reach its closest distance to Earth on July 26 at 3:04 pm ST. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.02107 astronomical units or almost 2 million miles from the planet’s center.

The asteroid was first observed on Aug. 5, 2010. Based on the information collected by CNEOS on 2010 PK9, the asteroid has been a frequent visitor to the orbits of Mercury, Venus and Earth.

The earliest known record of 2010 PK9 was its approach on Mercury on June 1, 1900. It approached the planet from a distance of 0.044518 astronomical units or around 4.1 million miles away.

The last time that the asteroid was within Earth’s vicinity was on Sept. 3, 2018. CNEOS predicted that the asteroid will approach the planet again on Aug. 25, 2022.

So far, 2010 PK9 has been keeping a relatively safe distance from the planets that it visits. As indicated in CNEOS’ projections regarding the asteroid’s future visits, Earth is safe from a possible impact event.

Of course, the risk of 2010 PK9 hitting Earth still lingers since the projections probably do not take into account the forces in space that can alter the asteroid’s trajectory. For instance, a different and unknown asteroid could collide with 2010 PK9, nudging it into a path straight to Earth.

2010 PK9 could also get pulled by the gravitational forces of Mercury, Venus and Earth. This could alter the asteroid’s current course and bring it into a collision path with Earth in the future.