NASA is currently monitoring a massive asteroid that’s expected to approach Earth on Wednesday. According to the agency, the approaching asteroid is almost as big as the Statue of Liberty.

Details regarding the incoming space rock have been collected by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). The agency noted that the asteroid, which has been identified as 2019 WW, is currently flying across space towards Earth at an average speed of almost 22,000 miles per hour.

According to CNEOS, the asteroid has an estimated diameter of 236 feet, making it longer than the wingspan of a Boeing 747 plane.

2019 WW has been labeled as an Apollo asteroid due to its natural orbit. Like other Apollo asteroids, 2019 WW follows a wide orbit around the Sun and the Earth. From time to time, the asteroids cross the path of Earth as it makes its way around the massive star.

After analyzing 2019 WW’s trajectory, CNEOS was able to obtain information regarding the asteroid’s past and future close intersections with Earth. According to CNEOS’ database, the last time the asteroid approached the planet was on Nov. 24, 2018.

The agency predicted that after last year’s approach, the asteroid will be visiting Earth’s vicinity on almost a yearly basis until 2026. After that, the asteroid’s next near-Earth approach will happen in 2065, a year after it flies by Venus.

The changes in the trend of the asteroid’s Earth visits indicates that its trajectory is being affected by certain factors in space. One of these could be a gravitational keyhole. This is the surrounding area near the planet that’s affected by its gravitational pull.

Another possible factor could be the concept behind the Yarkovsky effect. This occurs when heat from the Sun hits one side of the asteroid, causing it to rotate. This motion can alter an asteroid’s trajectory.

According to CNEOS, 2019 WW is expected to approach Earth on Dec. 4 at 8:20 p.m. EST. During this time, the asteroid is expected to be about 0.02213 astronomical units or around 2.1 million miles from the planet’s center.

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