NASA is currently tracking an asteroid that’s headed for Earth. According to the space agency’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the approaching asteroid is almost as big as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

The asteroid has been identified by CNEOS as 2019 ON. It belongs to a group of asteroids known as Atens. According to CNEOS, Aten asteroids often intersect the orbital path of Earth as they travel around the Sun.

The agency noted that the asteroid has a diameter of around 180 feet and has a velocity of 10,400 miles per hour. CNEOS estimated that 2019 ON will fly past the planet on Aug. 1 at around 11:23 am ST.

During its approach, the asteroid will fly from a distance of around 0.01729 astronomical units or about 1.6 million miles from the Earth’s center.

2019 ON was first observed on July 6. The last time it approached Earth was on July 28, 2018. During this time, the asteroid approached the planet from a distance of 0.04720 astronomical units or roughly 4.4 million miles.

Following its upcoming approach, the asteroid is expected to return to Earth’s vicinity on July 30, 2020. CNEOS estimated that it will be about 0.09142 astronomical units or 8.5 million miles away from the planet on its future flyby.

Due to 2019 ON’s frequent visits to Earth’s neighborhood, the asteroid has been classified by CNEOS as a Near-Earth Object (NEO). According to the agency, these types of space rocks have been affected by the gravitational pull of nearby large objects.

“[NEOs] are 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,” CNEOS stated.

“Composed mostly of water ice with embedded dust particles, comets originally formed in the cold outer planetary system while most of the rocky asteroids formed in the warmer inner solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter,” the agency added.

According to CNEOS, NEOs offer vital information to the scientific community because they are considered as the remnant debris that came from the formation of the Solar System 4.6 billion years ago.

Pictured; an artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth. NASA