Home / Science / NASA asteroid warning: a 700-foot space rock on risk trajectory with Earth in 2023 | Science | News

NASA asteroid warning: a 700-foot space rock on risk trajectory with Earth in 2023 | Science | News



The closest potential impact date with the asteroid, named Asteroid 2018 LF16, falls on August 8, 2023. The asteroid could then cross again with Earth's orbit on August 3, 2024 and August 1, 2025 In total, there are 62 dates in which the space rock could hit the Earth, although the risk of this cataclysm happening is quite low.

According to NASA's calculations, there is a 30,000,000 chance that LF16 will crash into our home planet, a 99.9999967 percent chance of failing.

In the Torino impact risk scale, the asteroid is a "zero", which means that the probability of impact is non-existent or as close as possible to nonexistent.

But the size and number of potential impact dates make space an incredibly formidable object to track.

At this time, the asteroid is crossing space at more than 33.844 mph or 15.13 km per second.

NASA experts estimate that the asteroid has a diameter of about 698.8 feet (213 m).

Such a large space rock is almost twice as tall as the Big Ben clock tower in London, twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York and four times as tall as Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.

If that is not scary enough, the impact force of such a large object could be as great as the 50 Megatons explosion of the Tsar Bomb, the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated on the planet's surface.

Fortunately, according to the European Space Agency (ESA), asteroids of this size tend to hit the Earth less than once every 1,000 years.

And it would require a significantly larger asteroid more than six miles wide (10 km) to witness an extinction level event comparable to that of the asteroid that killed dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

The ESA said: "Some asteroids are very large, and would cause enormous destruction if the Earth were hit, but their estimated population in our Solar System is quite small and it is believed that more than 90 percent of these have been discovered. None of these poses any risk of impact.

"Some are very small (less than 10 m in diameter) and only a small fraction of the estimated population has been discovered, but any impact would be harmless.

"The main challenge comes from the population of medium-sized objects, ranging from tens to hundreds of meters in diameter."

Many of these asteroids exist in the vacuum of space and the impact damage of one of these space rocks could cause significant damage in cities or populated areas.

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But with enough warning, ESA said that appropriate measures can be taken to protect people.

The Asteroid LF16 was discovered by the Sentry System of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), an automated asteroid monitoring system designed to track the potential impact hazards lurking in space.

NASA said: "Sentry is a highly automated collision monitoring system that continuously scans the most current asteroid catalog in search of future impact possibilities on Earth for the next 100 years.

"Whenever a potential impact is detected, it will be analyzed and the results will be published immediately here, except in unusual cases where we seek independent confirmation"

READ MORE: asteroids the size of a PEOPLE could crash into Earth in 2028, say theorists


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