NASA has admitted that there’s a chance that a 100ft-wide asteroid – which is currently heading towards us – could hit Earth.
Asteroid 2013 TX68 is due to pass on March 5th by as close as 11,000 miles, with NASA also claiming it could actually hurtle towards our planet on September 28th, 2017.
But before you start envisaging an Armageddon-esque scenario, NASA puts the odds of this actually happening at ‘no more than 1-in-250-million’. You’re even 18 times more likely to win the lottery – phew, panic over.
The same asteroid actually bypassed earth two years back, about 1.3 million miles away, but this time round it could get a lot closer for comfort. NASA can only predict right now that this could be anywhere between 9 million and 11,000 miles.
However, additional observations will help them narrow down their distance predictions.
Manager of NASA’s Center for Near Earth Orbit Studies, Paul Chodas, said:
This asteroid’s orbit is quite uncertain, and it will be hard to predict where to look for it. There is a chance that the asteroid will be picked up by our asteroid search telescopes when it safely flies past us next month, providing us with data to more precisely define its orbit around the sun.
The actual consequences of 2013 TX68 burning up in our atmosphere could be catastrophic. It’s predicted an asteroid of 50 metres of more could potentially destroy London inside the M25.
But Chodas has called for calm after conspiracy theories latched on to the story and took to YouTube to claim that either next week’s or 2017’s flybys could in fact impact the Earth and trigger the end of the world.
The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates are far too small to be of any real concern. I fully expect any future observations to reduce the probability even more.
NASA has since published a tweet claiming Earth is safe from the asteroid for at least 100 years.
The asteroid has become a bit of an internet sensation as well, with one person giving 2013 TX68 its very own Twitter feed. Because, why not?
Very pleased with myself. Done a few thousand miles today already. ???
— 2013TX68 (@2013TX68) February 19, 2016
I wouldn’t panic just yet.