2032 Asteroid: Ukranian Astronomers Sound Alarm, NASA Yawns

Image: 2032 Asteroid: Ukranian Astronomers Sound Alarm, NASA Yawns

Monday, 21 Oct 2013 06:29 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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All alarms sounded earlier this week when Ukrainian astronomers announced they'd identified a massive asteroid threatening to hit Earth in 2032, but NASA shrugged off the possibility on Thursday.

According to RIA Novosti news agency, stargazers at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in southern Ukraine spotted the 1,300-foot-wide minor planet last weekend and mapped out its future orbit.

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Dubbed 2013 TV135, the asteroid was classified as "potentially hazardous" and scientists said it could possibly hit Earth in August 2032. If it did collide with the Blue Planet, the explosion would be the equivalent of 2,500 megatons of TNT, or 50 times greater than the biggest nuclear bomb ever detonated, RIA Novosti reported.

But NASA researchers on Thursday dismissed the asteroid threat, and said there was only a 1 in 63,000 chance of it colliding with Earth.

"To put it another way, that puts the current probability of no impact in 2032 at about 99.998 percent," Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement "This is a relatively new discovery. With more observations, I fully expect we will be able to significantly reduce, or rule out entirely, any impact probability for the foreseeable future."

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Related stories:

Earth Will See Asteroid 2013 NE19 Fly By at 18 Miles Per Second Tonight

Asteroid the Size of Small Truck Buzzes Earth: NASA

Earth to See Another Asteroid Pass, This One Within 600K Miles  

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