It’s a concern when hugely intelligent and technologically advanced NASA can’t work out what it is that’s heading our way next month…
Normally NASA can shed light on the situation and put our minds to some degree of rest as to whether a mysterious object is an asteroid, a comet or whatever the hell it might be.
This time though, it seems to be a very different story and the mysterious, flying object’s ‘unusual’ characteristics, appear to be baffling scientists, according to IFLScience.
They spotted the strange object in late November, which they believe is a sizeable 1 km wide, and named it the catchy sounding 2016 WF9.
They’ve predicted this unknown entity will be closest to Earth on February 25th but at a reasonably safe distance of 51 million kilometres away, thank god.
Disconcertingly, scientists can’t figure out if it’s a comet or an asteroid though, due to its dark, unreflective surface and lack of dust and gas which are apparently typical of comets.
Asteroids tend to be rockier or more metallic, according to the space agency, and the odd flying object doesn’t fit in with that category either, leaving scientists well and truly stumped.
Deputy Principal Investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, James Bauer shared his confusion in a statement.
2016 WF9 could have cometary origins.
This object illustrates that the boundary between asteroids and comets is a blurry one; perhaps over time this object has lost the majority of the volatiles that linger on or just under its surface.
How ominous. It doesn’t exactly fill me full of confidence…