A massive asteroid could maybe, possibly hit Earth in 2032, though scientists say the chances are very (very) slim. Still, as far as chances go, they are greater than your odds of winning the Powerball, meaning doomsdayers have their new Mayan apocalypse to plan — this time without the Mayans.
NASA says the chances of asteroid 2013 TV135 hitting Earth are one in 63,000, and the agency is 99.998 percent sure the space rock will fly right on by the next time it comes near.
Still, since there’s always a chance, however small, CNN reports that the asteroid’s collision with Earth would be as powerful as a couple thousand atomic bombs. Thankfully, scientists are almost 100 percent sure 2032 isn’t the apocalypse.
2013 TV135 was discovered by Ukrainian astronomers on October 8, while NASA was closed for the partial government shutdown. Despite its relatively new discovery, it looks like the asteroid will join the ranks of over 10,000 other near-Earth objects that have very little chance of causing us harm.
The Telegraph notes that scientists at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory are credited with the asteroid’s discovery. Astronomer Gennady Borisov recalled, “I was watching the Giraffe constellation, monitoring it as part of our comet search program. The first observations show that it moves quickly and is relatively close.”
Astronomers in Italy, Spain, the UK, and Russia also confirmed the asteroid’s existence, and added it to the Minor Planet Center’s list of potentially hazardous asteroids. The space rock passed by Earth on September 16 at a distance of 4.2 million miles, or more than 15 times the distance from our planet to the moon.
In comparison, the much more massive asteroid 2012 DA14, which measures 150 feet wide, passed in between the Earth and the moon on February 15 of this year. It was only 17,200 miles from our planet’s surface. Near asteroid passes are pretty common, and happen almost every day.
So, while the massive asteroid could possibly hit Earth when it passes by again in 2032, we doubt there’s anything to worry about.
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