NASA Says “No Chance” Small Asteroid Will Hit Earth On March 5th

Artist's impression of a Near-Earth Asteroid passing by Earth. Credit: ESA

On October 6th, 2013, the Catalina Sky Survey discovered a small asteroid which was later designated as 2013 TX68. As part Apollo group this 30 meter (100 ft) rock is one of many Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) that periodically crosses Earth’s orbit and passes close to our planet. A few years ago, it did just that, flying by our planet at a safe distance of about 2 million km (1.3 million miles).And according to NASA’s Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it will be passing us again in a few weeks time, specifically between March 2nd and 6th. Of course, asteroids pass Earth by on a regular basis, and there is very rarely any cause for alarm. However, there is some anxiety about 2013 TX68’s latest flyby, mainly because its distance could be subject to some serious variation.Basically, the asteroid is expected to make its closest approach on March 5th, and will pass Earth at a distance of between 14 million km (9 million) and 17,000 km (11,000 miles). By comparison, the Earth’s Moon lies at an average distance of 384,399 km (238,854 miles) from Earth, ranging from about 362,600 km (225,309 mi) at perigee to 405,400 km (251,904 mi) at apogee.This means that there is a chance that, between March 2nd and 6th, this small asteroid will get far closer to Earth than the Moon ever does. The reason for this variation in estimates has to do with the trajectory of the asteroid, which scientists cannot entirely predict. This in turn is due to the fact that they have only been able to track it since its discovery, just three years ago.But before anyone starts contemplating building bomb shelters in their backyard and stocking up on dry goods and bottled water, there are few —> Read More