An asteroid has a very tiny chance of hitting Earth this year

09 Juin, 2019, 21:21 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Can't write an asteroid article without an image of the Big Daddy of all asteroids. Here's an artistic rendition of the Chicxulub impactor striking ancient Earth with Pterosaur observing. Credit NASA

An asteroid that big can easily wipe out a whole city if it collides with the Earth.

For comparison, some of the other asteroids on the Risk List measure 900 and 375 meters in diameter. Asteroid 2006 QV89 now has a one in 7,000 chance of hitting Earth on the morning of September 9, according to the European Space Agency, which lists the space rock as the fourth most concerning object on its top 10 list of cosmic items with a non-zero chance of hitting us. To put that in perspective, the moon is 238,900 miles (384,400 km) away. The agency has listed the space object as the fourth most concerning asteroid on its top 10 list of cosmic items with a non-zero chance of colliding into our planet.

The IAWN and ESO hope to improve the Earth's defenses against asteroids and other NEOs that would possibly crash into the planet by studying the observations made on the space rocks that have been zipping by. According to NASA, this classification is given to any small object that flies near Earth.

"These data, combined with all those that are obtained on other telescopes through the IAWN campaign, will be essential for evaluating effective deflection strategies in the event that an asteroid was found to be on a collision course with Earth", ESO astronomer Olivier Hainaut said in a statement.

So-called Near Earth Objects (NEO), or objects like asteroids or comets that come within 30 million miles of Earth's orbit, have been spotted 18,000 times in 2018 alone, according to the Planetary Society.

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The threshold for action by space agencies is if an asteroid is determined to have a 1 in 100 chance of impact with Earth, so no need to quit your day job.

The asteroid, named 2002 AJ129, was estimated by NASA to be 0.68 miles in diameter-more than the height of the world's largest building, the Burj Khalifa, and the width of Central Park, both of which are about half a mile.

On Feb. 4, 2018 the asteroid was set to pass as close as 2,492,834 miles from Earth, according to an April 2017 prediction, at speeds of 67,000 mph, the Daily Mail reported.

Witnessing impacts like this are extremely rare given their unpredictability.

Scientists are still working on identifying every Near-Earth Object.

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