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Asteroid 2005 YU55 To Narrowly Miss Earth (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/04/11 07:36 PM ET Updated: 11/07/11 02:55 PM ET

An asteroid a quarter-mile-wide will, astronomically speaking, narrowly miss Earth next week.

And while it is the closest an asteroid this size has come to the home planet since 1976, there's no need to call Bruce Willis ... yet.

"There is no chance that this object will collide with the Earth or moon," Don Yeomans, the manager of NASA's Near Earth Object Program office, told Reuters.

But that doesn't mean the asteroid -- named 2005 YU55 -- won't be a threat to earth in the future.

Lance Benner, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a video from NASA (available below) that scientists haven't been able to reliably compute the asteroid's path beyond a couple of hundred years from now.

At its closest point, the space rock will be about 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers) away, which is 0.85 the distance between the moon and the Earth. NASA says that the asteroid will reach this point at 6:28 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

"In effect, it'll be moving straight at us from one direction, and then go whizzing by straight away from us in the other direction," Benner said.

An asteroid this size -- which, according to Scientific American is larger than an aircraft carrier -- would cause widespread damage if it were to hit Earth, however. The Associated Press spoke to Jay Melosh, a professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Purdue University, who said that the asteroid would create a four-mile wide crater 1,700 feet deep. It could cause 70-foot tsunami waves and shake the ground like a magnitude-7 earthquake.

Even though the asteroid will be inside the orbit of the moon, NASA said that the space rock's gravitational pull shouldn't have any "detectable effect" on Earth's tectonic plates or tides.

Yeomans told HuffPost that the flyby will give astronomers a great view of 2005 YU55 and is an opportunity to do research into the asteroid's composition. He said that it's a C-Type asteroid, which means it contains carbon-based minerals which could potentially be used in future space exploration.

"These objects are important for science ... they're potential resources for raw materials in space that we may wish to take advantage of some day," he said.

The New York Times reported last month on proposed fuel stations in space that one study says could put astronauts on an asteroid by 2024.

LOOK: Animation of asteroid's path as it passes by Earth.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


LOOK: Images of Asteroids:

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  • In this handout from NASA, the giant asteroid Vesta is seen in an image taken from the NASA Dawn spacecraft about 3,200 miles above the surface July 24, 2011 in Space. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltec via Getty Images)

  • This Feb. 14, 2000 photo provided by NASA shows the north pole of the asteroid Eros. The crater seen on the surface of Eros measures 4 miles across. (AP Photo/NASA)

  • This handout image provided by the European Space Agency, transmitted by the space craft Rosetta, shows the asteroid Lutetia at closest approach July 10, 2010 between Mars and Jupiter in outer space. (Photo by ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team via Getty Images)

  • This undated artist concept released by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows the Dawn spacecraft with Ceres and Vesta seen in the background. The spacecraft was captured into orbit around the massive asteroid Vesta after a 1.7 billion-mile journey and is preparing to begin a study of a surface that may date to the earliest era of the solar system, the space agency said Monday, July 18, 2011, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/William K. Hartmann/UCLA/NASA, JET PROPULSION LABORATORY)

  • This handout photo illustration provided by the European Space Agency, transmitted by the space craft Rosetta, shows the final sequence of images before the closest approach of the asteroid Lutetia July 10, 2010 between Mars and Jupiter in outer space. (Photo by ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team via Getty Images)

  • This handout image provided by the European Space Agency, transmitted by the space craft Rosetta, shows a close-up view of a possible landslide and boulders at the highest resolution on the asteroid Lutetia July 10, 2010 between Mars and Jupiter in outer space. (Photo by ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team via Getty Images)

  • This artist's concept provided by NASA illustrates the first known Earth Trojan asteroid, discovered by NEOWISE, the asteroid-hunting portion of NASA's WISE mission. The asteroid is shown in gray and its extreme orbit is shown in green. Earth's orbit around the sun is indicated by blue dots. The objects are not drawn to scale. The asteroid's orbit is well defined and for at least the next 100 years, it will not come closer to Earth than 15 million miles (24 million kilometers). (AP Photo/NASA - Paul Wiegert)

  • Computer modeling shows that the parent object of asteroid (298) Baptistina, which was approximately 170-kilometers in diameter with characteristics similar to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, was disrupted 160 million years ago when it was hit by another asteroid estimated to be 60-kilometres in diameter.The extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago can be traced to a collision between two monster rocks in the asteroid belt nearly 100 million years earlier, scientists reported on September 5, 2007. The two pictures on the right show remnants of the collision impacting the Earth and Moon. (DON DAVIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This image of the Asteroid Vesta, released by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Monday, August 1, 2011, was captured by the Dawn spacecraft on July 24, 2011 at a distance of 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers). (AP Photo/NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

  • This July 23, 2011 image of the Asteroid Vesta, released by NASA/JPL, was captured by the Dawn spacecraft at a distance of 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers). (AP Photo/ NASA/JPL)

  • This undated artist rendition released by NASA/JPL shows the Dawn spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Vesta. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL)

  • This image released by NASA/JPL on Thursday July 28, 2011 shows an image of the dark side of Vesta asteroid captured by NASA'S Dawn spacecraft on July 23, 2011, and taken from a distance of about 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers) away from the giant asteroid. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL)

  • This image of the Asteroid Vesta, released by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Monday, July 18, 2011, was captured by the Dawn spacecraft on July 17, 2011. The image was taken from a distance of about 9,500 miles (15,000 kilometers) away from the proto planet Vesta. (AP Photo/ NASA/JPL)

  • This image of the Asteroid Vesta, released by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Monday, July 18, 2011, was captured by the Dawn spacecraft on July 1, 2011. The image was taken from a distance of about 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) away from the protoplanet Vesta. Each pixel in the image corresponds to roughly 5.8 miles. (AP Photo/ NASA)

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