Nasa has taken the unusual step of responding to fears among minority Christian groups that the world will end following the emergence of a 'blood moon' later this month.
Scientists say that a lunar eclipse, where the moon passes into the shadow of the Earth, is expected to occur on 28 September. The lunar event is sometimes referred to as a 'blood moon' due to the red hue of the moon during the eclipse, The Independent notes.
Some Christian groups claim that the event signals the imminent end of the world because it will be the fourth consecutive lunar eclipse (also known as a "tetrad") since April 2014.
According to some religious leaders, this refers to a passage in the Bible in Joel 2:31 which reads: "And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come."
Another passage in Revelation 6:12 carries a similar reference: "[...] and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood".
And in Acts 2:20: "The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord."
To calm fears, Nasa confirmed that according to its extensive research, no asteroids are expected to collide with Earth for several hundred years.
"Nasa knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small," a Nasa spokesperson said.
"In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years."