Killer Asteroid That Could Strike Earth In 2028 Makes First Pass Near Planet

Coburn Palmer

An enormous asteroid that could strike the Earth in 2028 is making its first pass near the planet this week, and doomsayers are using it as proof we need to build a planetary defense system.

The potentially killer space rock measures about a mile in diameter and will pass safely outside the moon's orbit this week, but it's scheduled to return again sometime in 2028 when it will be much closer to Earth.

Dubbed 1997 XF11, the meandering asteroid will pass close to 27 million miles from Earth this week, along with several other space rocks scheduled to come near the planet. Next time, however, its orbit will be much more erratic, making it more likely to strike the planet and cause an extinction level event.

NASA's Near Earth Object Program tracks asteroids that pass close to the planet every day, but the U.S. space agency can't see them all coming, astrophysicist Jose Ramon Valdes told the Express.

"There are many, but few reach the ground, however we must be prepared for a big one, because they are fatal and would finish a city."
"The sky was lit up as if lightning had struck and a few seconds later we saw an orange object like a rocket."
"The trajectory of big asteroids can be seen and monitored, the problem is the small ones that we cannot see."

So far, the Earth has no planetary defense system, but there are several countries working on systems to protect the planet from a doomsday type event including the U.S. and Russia.

Russia is planning to shoot Cold War-era ballistic missiles at any asteroid near enough to threaten the planet. It's the country most affected by falling space rocks; almost every 50 years Russian cities have been damaged by asteroids. The last one came in 2013 when a 65-foot-wide rock dropped out of the Chelyabinsk sky and injured more than 1,000 people, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Neither country's technology is ready for deployment, but that's OK, says NASA; the Earth won't face a real threat from falling space rocks for several years to come.

These types of fears may be what's driving SpaceX founder Elon Musk's plan to send a manned expedition to Mars by 2028.

The real-life Tony Stark billionaire, who also founded Tesla, said humans need to establish off-world colonies as a way of guaranteeing the preservation of mankind, reports the Huffington Post.

"Either we spread earth to other planets, or we risk going extinct. An extinction event is inevitable and we're increasingly doing ourselves in."

[Photo credit: sdecoret/Shutterstock]