Earlier this week, media outlets across the globe flashed headlines about the possibility of an asteroid the size of a mountain heading towards the Earth. A day later, we have a response from NASA reassuring everyone about the fact that the asteroid is way off target and is not likely to hit the earth. According to Yahoo News, the 1300-foot wide asteroid named 2014 UR116 poses no threat to life on earth if it continues on its current trajectory. The Inquisitr had yesterday reported about the asteroid as well.
NASA’s confirmation about the asteroid posing no threat was announced on the website of the Near Earth Object Program. The official statement, while acknowledging the fact that the asteroid does come in close to the earth occasionally, said it is unlikely that the two bodies could collide.
“While this approximately 400-meter sized asteroid has a three year orbital period around the sun and returns to the Earth’s neighborhood periodically, it does not represent a threat because its orbital path does not pass sufficiently close to the Earth’s orbit,” the statement reads.
Asteroid 2014 UR116 was in the news after it was reportedly discovered by researchers from the MASTER-II observatory in Kislovodsk, Russia. The discovery happened back in October, and initial computation seemingly suggested that the asteroid could cross the earth’s orbit – sending panic waves around the globe.
After studying the object, as well as its trajectory and orbital path in detail, NASA scientists figured that the same asteroid was discovered six years ago as well. According to Tim Spahr, Director of the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge Massachusetts, he too had observed the asteroid as it came relatively close to the earth nearly six years ago. According to Spahr, scientists from the Sentry system at NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have ruled out the possibility of asteroid 2014 UR116 hitting the earth for at least the next 150 years.
Meanwhile, the Yahoo News report also cites studies by scientists from Harvard University who have estimated that the closest this asteroid will get to the earth would be in the year 2047. Even then, it would be at least 2.7 million miles from us! This distance makes the asteroid way too far away to be even considered a threat, the report adds.
In short, if you have been losing sleep over the possibility of asteroid 2014 UR116 hitting the earth, you have better things to worry about!
[Image Via radioestanhado.com]