A huge and newly discovered asteroid known as asteroid 2013 TV135, sailed pretty close in astronomical terms to Mother Earth back in September. Asteroid 2013 came within about 4.2 million miles to earth on Sept. 16, and will be making its return orbit near Earth again in 2032.
NASA reported on Oct.17 that the asteroid, one of 10,332 near-Earth objects, was first discovered on Oct. 8. Although asteroid 2013 didn’t impact our home planet this time around, Earthlings are concerned about a possible impact when the asteroid’s orbit brings it back again in 2032.
The asteroid is initially estimated to be about 1,300 feet (400 meters) 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.
Our favorite space agency doesn’t seem concerned about an Earth impact in 2032 though.
Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office said, "to put it another way, that puts the current probability of no impact in 2032 at about 99.998 percent.
"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."
NASA calculated that the probability of asteroid 2013 TV135 striking Earth in 2032 has only a “1-in-63,000 chance” of hitting our planet.
NASA maintains a program called Spaceguard, a.k.a., The Near-Earth Object Observations Program, which detects and tracks asteroids and comets passing close to Earth.
The purpose of Spaceguard is to determine if any of those 10,332 near-Earth objects pose any danger.
For more on asteroid 2013 TV135’s return and possibly hitting Earth in 2032, see the video accompanying this article.