Asteroid 'has one in 7,000 chance'of hitting Earth this autumn, scientists warn

Illustration of an asteroid. Even in the main belt the asteroid density is very low. On average, distances of millions of miles separate even the closest members. Most of them, as this artist's impression shows, are lone wanderers.
Could an asteroid hit our planet? (Getty)

This autumn, an asteroid could smack into our planet, according to scientists at the European Space Agency... but don't head for the doomsday bunkers quite yet.

The space rock, 2006 QC89, has around a 1-in-7,000 chance of hitting our planet on September 9, 2019 (so in all probability, it will hurtle safely past).

It's also nowhere near the size of the sort of 'planet killer' asteroid which killed the dinosaurs.

It's about 130 feet in diameter, scientists believe (and even if it does hit our planet, it will almost certainly fall into the sea).

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It’s similar in size to an asteroid which exploded over Chelyabinsk six years ago (although, even if it does hit our planet, it’s extremely unlikely to go anywhere near a city).

During the 2013 Chelyabinsk event, 1500 people were injured and 7300 buildings damaged by the intense overpressure generated by the shockwave at Earth’s surface.

The asteroid, spotted by the Catalina Sky Survey, is a frequent visitor to our planet, and the ESA believes that there is a 1-in-7,299 chance it will hit Earth this autumn.

It's more likely to pass by about 4.2 million miles from our planet.