An asteroid could give our planet a VERY close shave next month – as astronomers predict it could pass us as close as 11,000 miles away.
To put that in context, the moon is a quarter of a million miles away.
Asteroid 2013 TX68 is pretty small, thankfully – and astronomers haven’t precisely defined its orbit yet, so it COULD pass as far away as 9 million miles, according to EarthSky.org.
Astronomers say there’s no danger it will actually hit us – but if it does fly by at 11,000 miles, it will fly underneath some communications satellites.
Asteroid 2013 TX68 is estimated to be about 100 feet in diameter, NASA says.
By comparison, the asteroid that broke up in the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, three years ago was approximately 65 feet (20 meters) wide.
If an asteroid the size of 2013 TX68 were to enter Earth’s atmosphere, it would likely produce an air burst with about twice the energy of the Chelyabinsk event.
Scientists at NASA’s Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have determined there is no possibility that this object could impact Earth during the flyby next month.
But they have identified an extremely remote chance that this small asteroid could impact on Sep. 28, 2017, with odds of no more than 1-in-250-million.
Flybys in 2046 and 2097 have an even lower probability of impact.
‘The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates are far too small to be of any real concern,’ said Paul Chodas, manager of CNEOS. ‘I fully expect any future observations to reduce the probability even more.’
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