A huge space rock nicknamed the 'God of Chaos' will hurtle past Earth during a fly-by of the planet this week.

Apophis is set to fly past us shortly after 1am on Saturday where it will come to within 10,471,577 miles of the globe.

This is about 43 times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

While there is no chance of an Armageddon-like impact with the Earth it will be visible to telescopes and within radar range of the planet.

Apophis is a near-Earth asteroid measuring about 350 metres in diameter.

Asteroid Apophis
Asteroid Apophis was discovered on June 19, 2004

It was first discovered in 2004 and has been classified as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid" by the IAU's Minor Planet Centre.

NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California has been observing the asteroid since March 3 and will continue watching it until March 14.

It is set to pass the Earth again in April 2029 when it will be significantly closer to our surface.

NASA said of that fly-by: "This will be the closest approach by something this large currently known.

"Apophis will be visible to the naked eye for several hours, and Earth tides will probably change its spin state."

The European Virtual Telescope Project will host a live online feed to allow people to watch the fly-by as it happens.

The fly-by this week won't be the last of 2021.

Illustration of a comet flying through space close to the earth
There will be further fly-bys of the asteroid in the coming years

Asteroid 2014 QJ33 is expected to pass Earth safely at a distance of 6.67 lunar units - 1,592,819 miles away from Earth in September.

That rock will be travelling at a speed of 8.66 kilometres a second or 19,371 miles per hour.

NASA is currently tracking around 2,000 asteroids, comets and other objects that could fly close to Earth.

Earth hasn't seen an asteroid of apocalyptic scale since the space rock that wiped out dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

Most asteroids don't come into contact with Earth's atmosphere, but rarely the giant space rocks can impact weather systems.