Astronomers Discover Asteroid That Might Hit Earth in 2014

"Scientists already know of 113 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) tumbling on paths that will eventually lead them to within an astronomical hair's width of Earth. The total number of such asteroids could be well over a thousand."

- EarthSky.com

Top: The 1994 XM asteroid appeared as a trail in images taken on December 9, 1994. Bottom: Compare to image on right which shows the asteroid some 4.5 hours later. The asteroid was about 550,000 kilometers away from Earth at the time, on its way to a record close approach of some 105,000 kilometers (65,258 miles) only 12 hours later.
Top: The 1994 XM asteroid appeared as a trail in images taken on December 9, 1994. Bottom: Compare to image on right which shows the asteroid some 4.5 hours later. The asteroid was about 550,000 kilometers away from Earth at the time, on its way to a record close approach of some 105,000 kilometers (65,258 miles) only 12 hours later.

Updated -  The Jet Propulsion Lab's Paul Chodas, a research scientist who specializes in calculating the orbits of asteroids and other near-Earth objects, announced today that asteroid 2003 QQ47 is not on a collision course with Earth in March 2014. Chodas said, "This particular one was of interest because it is fairly large, 1.3 kilometers [0.8 mile], and the predicted impact was only ten years away. Combining those two factors, we raised it to some level of concern."

September 2, 2003  Cloudcroft, New Mexico - The first eyes to see the new asteroid threat called "2003 QQ47" are at the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research Program at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. LINEAR, as it's known to astronomers, was an outgrowth of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) that took over the Reagan Administration's Star Wars program. LINEAR rose from the development of very high tech surveillance equipment that was originally designed to look for orbiting space junk high above our planet. Scientists already know of 113 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) tumbling on paths that will eventually lead them to within an astronomical hair's width of Earth. The total number of such asteroids could be well over a thousand. And this newly discovered one is about two kilometers in diameter - big enough to do serious damage on Earth if it hit us.

 

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