When asteroid 2012 Da14 was first discovered in February, there was a whole lot of rampant speculation from doomsayers that planet Earth is right in the wandering asteroid‘s path, and that an impact in 2013 is likely.
NASA decided to put an end to all of the speculation, saying on Thursday that there’s almost no likelihood that asteroid 2012 Da14 will hit the Earth–at least not anytime soon.
2012 Da14 orbits around the sun very similarly to that of the Earth’s orbit, so when the asteroid passes by on February 15, 2013, it’s going to pass by uncomfortably close–the asteroid could actually go under some of Earth’s high orbit satellites–but not close enough to bring about any probability of an impact.
According to NASA’s calculations, the closest that the 150-foot-wide asteroid could pass by Earth is roughly 12,680 miles. While that amounts to a very close shave in cosmic terms, scientists remain convinced that the probability of asteroid 2012 Da14 impacting Earth in 2013 is essentially zero.
Phil Plait, the creator of the Bad Astronomy blog, echoed NASA’s claims, adding that while 2012 Da14 may not be on a course for an impact with Earth, the possibility of an impact at a future date isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
‘Asteroid 2012 DA14 is almost certainly not going to hit Earth next February. And by “almost certainly”, I mean it. The odds of an impact are so low they are essentially zero. This does not rule out an impact at some future date, but for now we’re safe.’