In two weeks, Earth’s inhabitants are hoping a chilling warning from NASA is an accurate forecast. America’s top space agency warned that an asteroid, dubbed 2004 BL86, will make a close encounter to the planet on January 26. Scientists say the enormous space rock will be the closest asteroid flyby until another comes along in 12 years, citing a Daily Mail news report.
Asteroid BL86 measures about a third of a mile across, and its approach has many on edge. End of days preppers are buzzing about the ominous warnings, and are making arrangements in the event of a deep impact. Others are even proposing conspiracy theories that the planet is in imminent danger.
Don Yeomans, who is retiring as manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, spoke about the approaching asteroid.
“Monday, January 26 will be the closest asteroid 2004 BL86 will get to Earth for at least the next 200 years. And while it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more.”
According to a live Discovery program on Wednesday, scientists are increasing efforts to learn more about the Solar System. Daily, astronomers and amateur enthusiasts find one new asteroid that is orbiting the sun in the asteroid belt. Meanwhile, others are in various laboratories trying to determine the best means to destroy or change the course of an Armageddon asteroid.
NASA and others in the field of space academia believe asteroids are the building blocks to biological lifeforms on the planet and possibly in other nearby galaxies. According to Space.com, asteroids “are leftovers from the formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Early on, the birth of Jupiter prevented any planetary bodies from forming in the gap between Mars and Jupiter, causing the small objects that were there to collide with each other and fragment into the asteroids seen today.”
“Asteroids are something special. Not only did asteroids provide Earth with the building blocks of life and much of its water, but in the future, they will become valuable resources for mineral ores and other vital natural resources,” added Yeomans.
“They will also become the fueling stops for humanity as we continue to explore our solar system. There is something about asteroids that makes me want to look up.”
Last month, the Inquisitr reported on another potential asteroid tumbling towards the planet. However, the day after the reports of 2014 UR116 — a space projectile the size of a mountain — surfaced, NASA reassured the public that it posed no immediate danger to life and property.
Based on NASA’s estimates, asteroid 2004 BL86 will come within three times the distance of the Earth to the moon (or some 745,000 miles). It will be another 200 years until it returns. Meanwhile, in 2027, asteroid 1999 AN10 will make a pass, but poses no direct threat of an impact.
[Image via: The Celestial Convergence]