A chunk of rock nine times the size of the QE2 ocean liner will pass within 3.6 million miles this month.
Discovered on August 9th, 1998, the asteroid will make its closest approach later this month but is expected to pass no closer than 15 times the distance between the Moon and the Earth. Its name, "1998 QE2", has actually nothing at all to do with the famous ship and was instead assigned as part of a code used by the US Minor Planet Centre in Massachusetts.
"It is tremendously exciting to see detailed images of this asteroid for the first time," said NASA's Dr Lance Benner. "With radar we can transform an object from a point of light into a small world with its own unique set of characteristics."
"An asteroid nine times larger than the QE2 is due to sail past the Earth later this month."
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