The tabloids have always taken great liberty with the headlines, but part of the current asteroid coverage known as 2018 LF16 is really taking things to the next level. The near-Earth rock has been the subject of numerous headlines that promote NASA's assessment that there are 62 potential "risk trajectories" that could put it on a collision course with Earth sometime between 2023 and 2117. Less disturbing image .
The asteroid is quite large, with an estimated diameter of more than 200 meters, and if it actually hit our planet, it would be a bad day for the planet. The good news is that there is virtually no chance of something like this happening.
The real bait of fear in the current coverage of the asteroid are the 62 potential trajectories that NASA has drawn that would put it on a course to impact the Earth. I mean, 62 sounds like a lot when you have nothing to compare it with, but feel safe knowing that the odds are definitely not in favor of the asteroid.
NASA models show that the real chance of the rock affecting the Earth is 1 in 30,000,000. That's 30 million. In fact, the odds are so low that people who track asteroid threats have given 2018 LF16 a threat rating of 0/10. The rating of "zero" is defined as "The probability of a collision is zero, or it is so low as to be effectively zero." A rating of 5/10 is where astronomers consider an object to be "threatening" and "certain collisions" to begin at the 8/10 ratings.
Now that we've handled the odds, let's talk about the rock itself. 2018 LF16 is huge compared to most of the space rocks that appear in our neck of the forest, and while it would not necessarily be a "planetary killer", it would definitely be a danger to anyone in the area. Its strength would be equivalent to the most destructive nuclear weapons created by humanity.
Once again, it is very unlikely to happen in such a way that it is not even worth worrying about, but knowing what is sailing in our Solar System is always interesting.