A pair of new studies have found that a large asteroid could be on its way to Earth within 20 years.
They’re based on calculations that have found the asteroid is about 5.3 miles (8km) across.
The asteroid could also be in orbit around the Earth, which could give it a significant impact force on the planet.
“This could be a huge impactor, but we don’t know for sure yet,” lead author and astrologer David Pescatore said in a statement.
“The impact is expected to be very large and powerful.”
The asteroid is thought to be between 200 and 300 meters (660 to 1,100ft) wide, and is expected in the next few years to pass within about 4 million miles (6 millionkm) of Earth, according to NASA.
Pescarto and his team first detected the asteroid in August 2016 using NASA’s Deep Impact Explorer (DIE), which is used to look at the space rock’s orbit and potential impact on Earth.
DIE, which is located in the International Space Station, has a camera that can detect asteroids within a 2.5-metre (6-foot) diameter.
Asteroids pass through Earth’s atmosphere and are tracked by satellites.
“When we measure an object’s distance from the Earth and its size, we know it’s not a planet, but it can be,” said Pescato.
“We can also see it with the telescopes on Earth.”
Pescatto and his colleagues found the asteroids orbit around a small star, called NGC 788.
It’s the closest star to the Sun that can be seen with telescopes, but scientists think that object could be much closer to the Earth than originally thought.
They have been monitoring the asteroid since 2014.
The researchers calculated that the asteroid would be about 5,400 miles (9,000km) from Earth at the end of its lifetime.
Pascato said the asteroid could have a huge effect on the surface of the planet, as it would make its impact closer to our planet than previously estimated.
PASCATO: I’d love to see asteroid 2015+ on Earth PASCATE: That would be really interesting, as a really large asteroid, with a very large impactor.
The authors also looked at how much the asteroid impacts Earth’s climate over the next 50 years, and found that if the asteroid passes within 10 million miles from Earth in 2023, it could produce a very strong greenhouse effect.
The impact would also have a dramatic effect on global warming.
“In the next half century, the impact could change the atmosphere and change the climate on Earth, especially in the Arctic,” Pascatto said.
PISCATO says if it’s a planet that gets hit by this asteroid, it’s going to be a really big one.
“It could be so powerful that it could change how much water is in the oceans and that could lead to a drastic change to the climate of the world,” Pescatello said.
“And it could also change the way our planet responds to other impacts like a comet.”
NASA has released a video to show what’s happening.
If you’re worried about the asteroid, NASA has a way to find out.
“What are you watching right now?” asked the narrator of the video.
“Watch the video and get informed on what to watch for next week!”
NASA’s Astrobiology Video team has also released a live stream of the asteroid’s next pass.
Watch it here.
Astronomers have predicted that asteroid 2015-18 will be close enough to Earth to pass close enough for a comet to come within 100 miles (160km) in 2020.
The closest comet that will come within that distance is expected around July 1, 2020.