NASA warned that it has spotted an asteroid that’s currently headed for Earth. According to the agency, the approaching space rock follows an Earth-crossing orbit, which means it has a chance of colliding with the planet.

NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) identified the approaching asteroid as 2017 AP4. Based on the data collected by CNEOS on the object, 2017 AP4 is currently flying towards Earth at an average velocity of around 27,000 kilometers per hour. The agency indicated that it has an estimated diameter of about 82 feet.

According to CNEOS, 2017 AP4 is officially classified as a member of the Apollo family of asteroids. Like the other Apollos, 2017 AP4 follows a wide trajectory that takes it around within the Solar System. However, from time to time, its orbit intersects with that of Earth as the planet completes its cycle around the Sun.

These near-planet approaches and intersections can have significant effects on the asteroid’s orbit. In fact, according to NASA, 2017 AP4 used to regularly fly past Mars from 1930 to 1993. However, since then, the asteroid has only been visiting Earth’s neighborhood.

It is possible that during one of its approaches, the asteroid went through a gravitational keyhole, which is a zone in space that’s affected by the gravitational forces of a nearby planet. After passing through this region, the gravitational pull may have nudged 2017 AP4 to take on a different route, causing it to become a frequent visitor of Earth.

Due to the asteroid’s natural orbit as well as the concept of gravitational keyholes, 2017 AP4 certainly has a chance of colliding with Earth during one of its approaches. But, given the size of the asteroid, it will probably not hit the ground and cause an impact event. Instead, it will most likely burn up in the sky and create a powerful explosion in the atmosphere.

Fortunately, as CNEOS indicated, 2017 AP4 will not hit the planet during its upcoming visit. According to the agency, the asteroid will fly past Earth on Dec. 3 at 4:54 p.m. EST from a very safe distance of 0.02175 astronomical units or around 2 million miles away.

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