NASA says big asteroid could pass near Earth next month | Reuters

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. NASA is monitoring a 100-foot (30-meter) wide asteroid that could make a close pass by Earth next month but has no chance of hitting it, the U.S. space agency said on Friday.

First spotted in 2013, the asteroid could fly as close as 11,000 miles (17,700 km) from Earth on March 5, according to scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

That is roughly 1/20th the distance from Earth to the moon and about half as far as many communications satellites that ring the planet.

But given uncertainty about the precise path of the asteroid, known as 2013 TX68, it also could end up as far as 9 million miles (14 million km) from Earth during its flyby.

The asteroid was visible for just three days during its last approach to Earth in 2013 before it passed into daytime skies and could no longer be tracked.

“It will be hard to predict where to look for it," NASA’s Paul Chodas, who manages the agency’s Near-Earth Objects Studies office, said in a statement.

NASA said there is a one-in-250 million chance of an impact during the asteroid’s next pass on Sept. 28, 2017, though future observances are likely to reduce that probability even further.

"The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates are far too small to be of any real concern," Chodas said.

The asteroid is about twice the size of the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That blast shattered glass and destroyed buildings, leaving more than 1,000 injured.

If an asteroid the size of 2013 TX68 passed into Earth’s atmosphere and exploded, NASA estimates it would likewise be about twice as powerful as the Chelyabinsk blast.

(Reporting by Irene Klotz; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Alden Bentley)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date: Feb 06, 2016 00:02 AM

Also Watch

Social Media Star: Abhishek Bachchan, Varun Grover reveal how they handle selfies, trolls and broccoli
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 It's a Wrap: Soorma star Diljit Dosanjh and Hockey legend Sandeep Singh in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 Watch: Dalit man in Uttar Pradesh defies decades of prejudice by taking out baraat in Thakur-dominated Nizampur village
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 India's water crisis: After govt apathy, Odisha farmer carves out 3-km canal from hills to tackle scarcity in village
  • Sunday, July 15, 2018 Maurizio Sarri, named as new Chelsea manager, is owner Roman Abramovich's latest gamble in quest for 'perfect football'

Also See