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NASA predicts previously 'lost' asteroid could hit Earth next year

Kit Roberts

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NASA predicts previously 'lost' asteroid could hit Earth next year

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

What's the biggest thing that you've ever lost? Maybe a jacket, or a suitcase? Perhaps something much larger like a car?

Whatever it is, it's unlikely it will be as big as the asteroid that NASA lost in 2007.

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Yes, they lost an entire asteroid. In fairness though, space is really, really big and they do have a lot to keep track of up there.

The asteroid in question is the catchily-named Asteroid 2007 FT3, which was first spotted in 2007 before quickly going missing.

Now, however, it has been predicted that there is a chance that the asteroid could hit Earth.

While the asteroid is not large enough to cause an extinction level event from its impact, it's certainly large enough to do a lot of damage to a continent.

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If it did hit the Earth, it could unleash the energy of around 2.6 billion tons of TNT.

That's around 2600 megatons of TNT, or around 48 Tsar Bombas, the largest nuclear warhead ever detonated.

The asteroid could hit Earth next year. Credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty
The asteroid could hit Earth next year. Credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty

It's still less than the explosive power of every nuclear weapon in existence, which has been estimated at around 4,000 megatons. So that's some comfort.

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The potential impact has been predicted for October 5 2024. All the same, you probably don't need to cancel Halloween plans, as the odd of an impact are extremely long.

In fact, they are one in 11 million.

While this is less than winning the lottery and people do win the lottery it's probably worth remembering that quite a lot of people play the lottery, so the chance of someone winning is higher.

And if the date of October 5 sounds very specific, an impact could also happen within a period between 2024 and 2116.

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The asteroid is tracked by a whole department at NASA which monitors Near Earth Asteroids, or NEAs.

The asteroid is the equivalent of around 48 Tsar Bombas. Credit: Science Photo Library - ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI via Getty
The asteroid is the equivalent of around 48 Tsar Bombas. Credit: Science Photo Library - ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI via Getty

They guess that there are around 32,000 NEAs and roughly 120 near Earth comets. Many of these are predicted to pass close to the Earth over the next few hundred years.

While Asteroid 2007 FT3 could do a lot of damage, it's not the biggest asteroid which could hit Earth.

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One such asteroid is 29075 (1950 DA), which is the second-likeliest asteroid to strike Earth.

This asteroid is large enough to spell not only the end of humanity, but possibly even life on Earth altogether.

One theory about asteroids striking Earth is that Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, acts as a shield for Earth.

The theory is that Jupiter taking hits which might otherwise have made it to Earth could have allowed the planet to remain undisturbed enough for life to begin.

Topics: Technology, News, World News, NASA, Space

Kit Roberts
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