Newly discovered asteroid could hit Earth in 2032

Newly discovered asteroid could hit Earth in 2032S

Shutdown, Obamacare, Syria... who cares—while Humanity wastes time in political shitslinging and unnecessary wars, a team of Ukranian astronomers have discovered a massive asteroid that has a real chance of hitting Earth in 2032 with apocalyptical consequences. It's the second time in history that an asteroid makes it to the top of NASA's space danger list as a potential danger.

Named 2013 TV135, this giant 1,350-foot-wide minor planet will reach Earth on August 26, 2032. It has a Torino Scale rating of 1, which means that it "merits careful monitoring."

Scientists don't know if this asteroid will hit our planet yet. Most probably it will not, but they will have to keep monitoring it until they have a more precise calculation of its trajectory. If it hits Earth, it would unleash an energy of 2,500 megatons of TNT—"50 times greater than the biggest nuclear bomb ever detonated." That's enough to destroy a state like New York and change the climate all around the world.

Only another much-smaller asteroid—2007 VK184—has the same Torino scale rating. But that doesn't mean there may not be others. Even if none of these two asteroids hit Earth, there are many more lurking out there, undetected because governments are not putting enough resources in early alert systems. If there's a space program that needs to be funded worldwide—and in a big way—is the one that may be able to prevent an extinction event at one point in the future. If we don't, we will not have a second chance.

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Astronomers discover a massive asteroid that could hit us in 2032

Astronomers discover a massive asteroid that could hit us in 2032S

Mark August 26th, 2032 on your calendar, folks. Ukrainian astronomers have just detected a 1,350-foot-wide (410 meter) minor planet that’s headed our way. The impact risk is minimal, but it’s now the most serious near-term celestial threat to face our planet.

I tend to shrug off this sort of stuff when I encounter it, but the sheer size of this asteroid, along with its near-term potential, made me curious. So I headed over to NASA’S Near Earth Object Program website to see if it was added it to its Torino Scale — a regularly updated chart that designates asteroid impact risk by category.

Not only was it there, it was at the top of the recently observed list — and all lit up in green, indicating that it's something we should probably keep our eye on.

Astronomers discover a massive asteroid that could hit us in 2032

And indeed, the asteroid, which was initially discovered by astronomers working at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in southern Ukraine, has now been confirmed by other scientists in Italy, Spain, the UK, and Russia’s Siberian republic of Buryatia.

A Torino Scale rating of 1 (out of 10), which is shown in green, indicates an event that "merits careful monitoring." It's described as

A routine discovery in which a pass near the Earth is predicted that poses no unusual level of danger. Current calculations show the chance of collision is extremely unlikely with no cause for public attention or public concern. New telescopic observations very likely will lead to re-assignment to Level 0.

But it is considered potentially hazardous because its orbit will bring it closer than 7.5 million km from Earth’s orbit. In this case, TV135 could come as close as 1.7 million km. Size also matters when it comes to risk assessment. If it were to hit us, it would unleash 2,500 megatons of TNT — 50 times greater than the biggest nuclear bomb ever detonated.

The newly discovered asteroid, named 2013 TV135, now joins 2007 VK184 as the only Torino Scale 1 objects known to astronomers. Asteroid VK184, which is 603 feet (184 meters) in diameter, has a 1 in 1,750 chance of hitting the Earth between 2048 to 2075.

Astronomers discover a massive asteroid that could hit us in 2032S

Thankfully, the risk posed by TV135 is extremely low — but not impossibly low. Current best estimates show that it has a 1 in 63,000 chance of colliding with Earth in 2032. That means it has a 99.9984% chance of missing the Earth. This number could either go up or down as new measurements are made over the coming years.

UPDATE: A new estimate places the chance of impact at 1 in 169,492,000.

Asteroid defense system, anyone?

[ Source: Ria Novosti | Top image: Artistic impression of an unrelated asteroid via Getty]
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