A massive asteroid, nicknamed "Spooky," is to zoom past Earth on Halloween at an "unusually" high speed, U.S. space agency NASA has said.
Discovered about two weeks ago, the asteroid, 2015 TB145, will pass by about 490,000 kilometers from Earth, or 1.3 times the Earth-moon distance, at 11:12 a.m. EDT on Oct. 31, which means it will pose no threat to Earth.
This asteroid is not only massive, with a diameter of up to 640 meters, but also extremely fast, zooming through space at 35 kilometers per second, 29 times faster than a high velocity rifle bullet.
This will be the closest approach by a known object this large until 1999 AN10 approaches within one Earth-moon distance in August 2027, NASA said. The last approach closer than this by an object the size of 2015 TB145 was by 2004 XP14 in July 2006 at 1.1 Earth-moon distances.
"The flyby presents a truly outstanding scientific opportunity to study the physical properties of this object," NASA said in a statement, adding that the asteroid "should be one of the best radar targets of the year."
2015 TB145 is possibly 32 times the size of the asteroid that injured a thousand people in Chelyabinsk, Siberia in 2013.
"If it were impact us, the energy released would be measured not in kilotons like the atomic bombs that ended World War Two, but in H-Bomb type megatons," according to a statement released by the online Slooh Community Observatory, which will air a live webcast of the asteroid's flyby.