NASA has detected the biggest asteroid to approach Earth this month. The asteroid, which is larger than the tallest man-made structure in the world, can easily wipe out an entire major city if it ends up colliding with Earth.

According to the space agency’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the approaching asteroid has been identified as 162082 (1998 HL1). This asteroid is currently hurtling towards Earth with an impressive speed of about 25,000 miles per hour. The agency estimated that the massive asteroid has a diameter of 3,248 feet, making it significantly bigger than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which currently holds the record for the tallest man-made structure in the world.

CNEOS classified 162082 (1998 HL1) as an Apollo asteroid. This means that like other asteroids that belong to this group, 162082 (1998 HL1) has a very wide orbit that goes around the Earth and the Sun. From time to time, the asteroid’s orbit intersects with that of Earth as it completes its cycle around the massive star.

Due to its size and its close intersections with Earth’s orbit, CNEOS labeled 162082 (1998 HL1) as a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA).

“Potentially Hazardous Asteroids are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth. Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance of 0.05 astronomical units or less and an absolute magnitude of 22.0 or less are considered PHAs,” NASA said in a statement.

Several factors in space could affect the asteroid’s trajectory and send it crashing to Earth. For instance, the gravitational pull of nearby planets and other large cosmic objects could nudge the asteroid, sending it on a direct collision course during its next near-Earth visit.

The heat from the Sun’s rays could also cause the massive asteroid to rotate differently, causing a drastic change in its trajectory. If the asteroid ends up hitting Earth, it could create a crater that’s several miles wide. The explosion caused by the impact would produce enough energy to level an entire city.

Fortunately, CNEOS noted that 162082 (1998 HL1) is not in danger of hitting Earth during its next approach, which is expected to happen on Oct. 25 at 1:21 pm EDT. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.04155 astronomical units or roughly 3.9 million miles from the planet’s center.

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