The odds aren’t very good, but they’re not terrible, that a giant asteroid will smash into Earth in the year 2032, say experts. Should we start to worry? Scientists say maybe. They say that the asteroid has a 1 in 63,000 chance to make contact with Earth. The asteroid has already come around before-on September 16, 2013. At that time it was 4.2 million miles away from our planet. Its formal name is 2013 TV135.
NASA scientist Don Yeoman feels rather confident that the asteroid will pass us by, saying “The current probability of no impact in 2032 [is] about 99.998 per cent.” However, Dmitry Rogozin, the prime minister of Russia, shook things up with a Tweet this past week urging that attention be paid to the space rock, saying it could “blow up the earth.”
The Crimean Astrophysical Observatory is the agency that found the asteroid steroid last week, which is said to be extremely dangerous by the international science community. It has been rated as a one on the Torino Scale, which is a way to measure how dangerous asteroids are. Only one other asteroid has ever been rated a one thus far.
They have only been watching this asteroid for a week’s time, and so they say its trajectory is not easy to predict. With further observation, they say, they may very well be able to nearly rule out any possibility of a catastrophic collision.
If it were to hit the earth, it would strike with the power of 2,500 megatons and would be 50 times greater the biggest nuclear bomb ever detonated. It is 1,300 feet in width and is not as large as the suspected asteroid that struck the earth and killed off the dinosaurs. It’s about a quarter mile long.
Slate.com writer and astronomer Phil Plait reports that the asteroid will most likely not hit the earth, citing the fact that we have already witnessed similar situations with large asteroids and none of them made impact. Plait says that it’s only possible to get an idea of a potential trajectory of an asteroid and it is not possible to know for sure its exact path. He also points out that the further out the projection, the “fuzzier” it gets and that eight days of observation is nowhere near enough time to know very much meaningful information about how the asteroid will travel.
A bigger problem, says Plait, is that there are many more very dangerous space rocks out there that we are not even aware of at this time, and that fact should be much more concerning, overall, than the very small risk we face from this new asteroid in 19 years; August of 2032 to be exact. Plait says he thinks the likelihood that the asteroid will strike the earth will reach nearly zero as time goes on.
If you’re feeling a lot more relaxed after hearing Plait’s viewpoint, do keep in mind that the chances the giant asteroid will smash the earth in 2032 are much, much better than winning the Powerball. Still, since scientists only say “maybe,” perhaps we shouldn’t start selling our possessions and going on that trip around the world. Then again, maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all…
By: Rebecca Savastio