NASA has tracked two asteroids around the size of the Blackpool Tower as they hurtled towards Earth.

Space scientists kept a close eye on the two cosmic close calls as the space rocks rocketed past our planet at speeds of up to 61,500mph.

Moving that quickly is the same as travelling almost 17 miles every single second – and is hypersonic speed equivalent to Mach 81.

Both space rocks move harmlessly past Earth today, but NASA always monitor these close calls incase they pose a threat to Earth.

They were both classed as Near Earth Objects (NEO) as they approached through the vacuum of space.

And it can be just weeks or even days before they approach that scientists detect these potentially city-killing beasts from the depths of space.

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NASA monitored the first asteroid – 2020 AQ1 – as it cruised past Earth around 2.54am EST.

It was 755ft in diameter and travelling at the incredible 61,500mph as it passed a mere 0.026 AU from Earth.

AU are astronomical units – each of which is roughly the distance between the Earth and our Sun.

The distance between Earth and the Moon is 00.0025 AU.

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2020 AQ1 will now hurtle out into the Milky Way, but it is expected to come again towards Earth on August 23, 2104..

And then 2013 DU, a much smaller 308 feet in diameter and a much slower 14,226mph, then is due to pass Earth at 9.19pm EST.

It is set for a much safer pass at a distance of 0.083 AU as it flies past Earth.

Both asteroids are of a large size, with the Blackpool Tower being 519feet tall.

2020 AQ is bigger than the northern landmark, and 2013 DU is smaller than the tourist attraction in Lancashire.

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NASA and other space agencies are constantly monitoring any interstellar threats, acutely aware the major risks posed by rogue space rocks.

It has been open about the threat they pose, with the White House rolling out the National Near Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan.

The 18-page document – a joint publication NASA and the Federal Emergency Agency – lays out how the world will be prepared to consequences of an asteroid impact.

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NASA planetary defence officer Lindley Johnson said: “This plan is an outline not only to enhance the hunt for hazardous asteroids, but also to better predict their chances of being an impact threat well into the future and the potential effects that it could have on Earth.”

Any asteroid larger than 328ft which passes close to Earth is designated "potentially hazardous" by NASA.

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Some scientists believe current asteroid warning systems are not effective enough – warning "city busting" asteroids could strike "without warning".

Asteroids of just 164ft are believed to pack enough punch to level an area the size of London.

The asteroid which destroyed the dinosaurs and decimated life on Earth is believed to have been around six miles across.

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  • Asteroids
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