This diagram shows the orbit of asteroid 2013 TV135 (in blue), which has just a one-in-63,000 chance of impacting Earth in 2032. Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Watch the atmospheric animation of NASA’s new mission: to lasso an asteroid, take samples from it and return them to earth.
A LARGE asteroid has been discovered zipping past Earth that astronomers say is dangerous and will return on August 26, 2032.
“A 400-metre asteroid is threatening to blow up the Earth,” Russian vice-premier Dmitry Rogozin, in charge of his nation’s space research, wrote on his Twitter account.
“Here is a super target for the national cosmonautics.”
The asteroid was discovered by astronomers in the Ukraine on Saturday who promptly named it 2013 TV135.
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The astronomers said they discovered the asteroid was approaching Earth at a potentially dangerous trajectory, RIA Novosti reported. They calculated the potential collision date – with a force as powerful as two thousand atomic bombs – but acknowledged that the odds of an impact are 1 in 63,000.
NASA said in a statement, named “A reality check”, that it was 99.998 per cent certain that when it heads back around the planet in 2032 it will sail past again.
“This is a relatively new discovery,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s NEO Program. “With more observations, I fully expect we will be able to significantly reduce, or rule out entirely, any impact probability for the foreseeable future.”
Until further investigation by NASA, the asteroid has a danger rating of 1 out of a possible 10 on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale, the system that gauges the danger of impact destruction by asteroids, CNN reported
The 1 rating means that it poses “no unusual level of danger.”
NASA said the asteroid 2013 TV135 “came within 6.7 million kilometres” of Earth – about 20 times as far away from Earth as the moon.
That pales in comparison to the closest shave the Earth has had from an asteroid its size in recorded history.
Asteroid 2012 DA14 passes Earth safely 0:45
The small near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 passed very close to Earth on Feb. 15, 2013, as NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains
On February 15, asteroid 2012 DA14, which was 50m long and weighed 200,000 tonnes, passed around 27,000 kilometres above the Earth.
Two behemoths will pass by Earth in the next three months at similar distances as 2013 TV135.
In November, an asteroid that NASA believes to be two-to-three kilometres wide, will pass at a distance of 19 million kilometres, and in January, another large one will come as close as 8 million kilometres from the planet.
NASA believes that neither will hit Earth.