An astronomer has claimed an asteroid the size of the Statue of Liberty is on a collision course with earth.
Dr Judit Györgyey-Ries, astronomer at the University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory, believes the giant rock could create a huge impact when it reaches earth in around October 2017.
Scientists estimate Asteroid 2012 TC4 is around 40-metres wide and could cause even more chaos than the one which hospitalised more than 1,200 people when it exploded over Russia in February 2013 .
Dr Györgyey-Ries told astronomy website: “We could see an airburst maybe broken windows, depending on where it hits.
The giant asteroid narrowly missed earth in October 2012 when it passed 94,800km away.
Detlef Koschny, head of the near-earth object segment at the European Space Agency, said: “There is a one in a million chance that it could hit us.
“The size was estimated from the brightness, but we don’t know the reflectivity. So it could be smaller or larger, assume from 10 to 40 metres.
“A 40m iron object would go through the atmosphere and make a crater; a 10m rocky object would hardly be noticed.”
Shock waves from the Russia airburst smashed windows, rattled buildings, and knocked people off their feet, more than 1,200 of whom attended hospital.
Researchers visiting villages in the area found a region of shock-wave damage extending some 50 miles on either side of the meteor’s trajectory path.