A newly discovered 1,300-foot-wide asteroid that buzzed past Earth last month will likely return in 2032, but the chances that it will hit our planet are very slim — just 1 in 63,000 — NASA has said.
The asteroid 2013 TV135 made a close approach to Earth on September 16, when it came within about 6.7 million kilometres and it is likely to pay our planet another visit in 2032.
However, NASA has allayed fears that the massive space rock could prove dangerous, with the US space agency saying that the probability this asteroid could then impact Earth is only one in 63,000.
“To put it another way, that puts the current probability of no impact in 2032 at about 99.998 per cent,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Programme Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The asteroid was discovered on October 8, 2013, by astronomers working at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in Ukraine.
The object should be easily observable in the coming months and once additional observations are provided to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the initial orbit calculations will be improved and the most likely result will be a dramatic reduction, or complete elimination, of any risk of Earth impact, NASA said in a statement.
“This is a relatively new discovery. With more observations, I fully expect we will be able to significantly reduce, or rule out entirely, any impact probability for the foreseeable future,” Yeomans said.
As of October 14, asteroid 2013 TV135 is one of 10,332 near-Earth objects that have been discovered.
The asteroid is initially estimated to be about 1,300 feet in size and its orbit carries it as far out as about three quarters of the distance to Jupiter’s orbit and as close to the Sun as Earth’s orbit.