Is “Asteroid 2032” going to be the earth’s reckoning? Unlikely, reports astronomers, who give the chance of an impact in 19 years about one in 63,000, shares NBC News on Friday. “Don’t panic, but don’t brush it off,” the headline read.
Asteroid 2013 TV135 just passed Earth on September 16, and it’s due to come around again in the year 2032, although its second passage will be much closer, astronomers predict. Not much was said about the big rock’s first go at our planet, likely because it passed us 4.2 million miles away, or about 17 times as far away as the moon.
The follow-up encounter in just under two decades will be closer, but no need to start thinking about contingency plans yet.
“To put it another way, that puts the current probability of no impact in 2032 at about 99.998 percent,” Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said Thursday 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.”
OK, so we’re good for now, but an asteroid defense plan likely should be in the works, no?
The U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernst Moniz is on it, signing an agreement with Russian officials that includes seeing whether nuclear weapons could be used as a means of asteroid defense.
While Congress can barely get their heads out of their collective posteriors to pass a bill, our friends in the aeronautics department are busy behind the scenes making sure we stay safe. It’s well worth the endeavor, considering the asteroid that streaked across Russia earlier this year, injuring more than 1,600 people, was only 54 feet wide when it entered out atmosphere.
Asteroid 2013 TV135 is 410 meters, or 1,345 feet wide. Just saying.