As you most likely know, the Universe is infinite; or least too large for us to comprehend. The sheer magnitude of it is enough to bring a sense of humility to even the most proud among us. Even our solar system is big enough to be hard to comprehend for some of us. So when an asteroid flies close to our planet, it’s because of a very slim chance. According to a statement from NASA, asteroid 2013 TX68 won’t collide with Earth in March.
2013 TX68’s fly-by
The 100 foot (30 meter) wide asteroid had already passed about 1.3 million miles from Earth two years ago, and according to recent calculations this time it will be much closer, yet still very out of reach. However, as the asteroid has only been tracked for a short while, the calculations aren’t all that accurate.
Astronomy enthusiasts will most likely jump up and down in excitement as 2013 TX68 will pass very close to Earth on March 5th. Despite it presenting no real threat, the short distance of roughly 11,000 miles will make it a definite attraction for stargazers everywhere.
2013 TX68 is almost double the size of the asteroid that exploded over Russia in 2013 (you probably remember the dash cam videos of the asteroid exploding) and if it were to somehow defy the scientists’ expectations and enter out atmosphere it would produce an energy explosion twice that size.
A collision is highly unlikely
Despite there being virtually no chances of the asteroid hitting our home planet this time around, a team from the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies says that things might be different during its next fly-by in 2017.
The team from California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says that the asteroid will come by again on September 28th 2017, and that it will have a much higher chance of colliding with Earth – about one in 250 million.
Yes, 2017’s one in 250 million chance is much higher than the current one. And subsequent fly-bys in 2046 and 2097 will apparently only serve to reduce the chance even further. This means that humanity doesn’t really need to worry about this particular asteroid.
With all these teams and calculations in place, you’d expect more to be known about 2013 TX68. However, that isn’t quite so, as the asteroid’s orbit is so uncertain that scientists aren’t even sure where to point their telescopes in order to observe it.
But still, they say not to worry, as they know what they’re doing.
Image source: Wikimedia