’Watch out, planet Earth – an asteroid is about to pass close by’ – this is how the experts’ warning would sound like. According to NASA, there is this small asteroid is expected to fly past the Earth during the first week of March.
The asteroid (as long as a basketball court) is called asteroid 2013 TX68. Two years ago, it flew past Earth at a comfortable distance of about 1.3 million miles (2 million kilometers) and who now will fly by our planet again in a few weeks. The difference between the last time and this time is that this time it may be much closer.
So close and yet so far.
The predicted range of distance at which the asteroid will go by is very wide, due to the short tracking time of it, which provided limited information for making future tracking predictions.
It could come as close as 11,000 miles (17,700 kilometers) — less than 5 percent of the distance from Earth to the moon — or stay up to 9 million miles (14.5 million km) away during the flyby.
NASA officials said.
On the other hand, scientists that are interested in the case, hope that the asteroid will be close enough to track more thoroughly during its next flyby, for the purposes of adding extra data to the study and to predict the asteroid’s future path.
Experts believe that if an object as big as asteroid 2013 TX68 were to penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere, it would generate an air burst that is twice as powerful as the one produced during the meteor crash in Chelyabinsk.
Despite the expected close flyby of 2013 TX68 on March 5, there is no danger that the asteroid will collide with Earth on this pass, researchers said. However, there is an extremely slight chance — less than 1 in 250 million — of an impact on Sept. 28, 2017, and even lower odds during flybys in 2046 and 2097.
The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates are far too small to be of any real concern.
CNEOS manager Paul Chodas declared. He also added that he fully expects any future observations to reduce this probability even more.
As a conclusion, it is not as bad as it looks. But as you lay down in bed on March 5, think of the rocky body that is about to fly past the Earth – it should suddenly make you feel small.