Luckily, the giant space rock will get no closer than 3.6 million miles, or 15 times the distance between the Earth and the moon.
But once it has passed it will not make a return trip to the Earth for at least another two centuries.
Coincidentally, scientists have named the asteroid 1998 QE2. The name has nothing to do with the transatlantic liner – it follows a code used for newly-discovered asteroids by the US Minor Planet Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The asteroid is believed to be about 1.7 miles long, or nine times the length of the Queen Elizabeth 2.
The object makes its closest approach to Earth at 9.59pm on May 31.
Scientists plan to scan it with radar using a 230ft wide dish telescope at the Goldstone Observatory in California’s Mojave desert.
Even from a distance of nearly four million miles, the researchers expect to resolve features on the asteroid as small as 12ft across.
Chief investigator Dr Lance Benner, from the American space agency Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said: “It is tremendously exciting to see detailed images of this asteroid for the first time.
“With radar we can transform an object from a point of light into a small world with its own unique set of characteristics.”
In 2016 Nasa will launch a robotic sample return mission to one of the most potentially hazardous known near-Earth objects (NEOs), the asteroid (101955) Bennu.
The asteroid, which measures a third of a mile across, comes within 500,000 kilometres of the Earth every six years.
Scientists have calculated that in 2182 there is a one in 1,800 chance of the object colliding with the Earth.
- Asteroid 1998 QE2 to sail past Earth nine times larger than cruise ship (phys.org)
- Asteroid nine times the size of the QE2 to pass Earth (telegraph.co.uk)
- Asteroid Named QE2 Heading Near Earth On May 31 (valuewalk.com)
- Close approach of Asteroid (285263) 1998 QE2 (sott.net)
- Huge asteroid to zip by Earth this month (science.nbcnews.com)
- The end in 2182? (hotsaucearmy.com)
- Asteroid QE2 Will Sail Past Earth in Two Weeks (dailygalaxy.com)
- Asteroid 1998 QE2 to Sail Past Earth 9 Times Larger than Cruise Ship (spaceref.com)
- Scary Asteroid the Size of Nine Cruise Ships will Sail Past Earth in May (scienceworldreport.com)
- Asteroid 1998 QE2 to sail past earth (sott.net)