The asteroid is expected to pass extremely close to the Earth in 2084, but there is a chance that gravitational interference from other planets could send it directly into our atmosphere, APA reports quoting sputniknews.
The European Space Agency (ESA) added a new asteroid to the so-called Risk List, saying it could hit Earth in the next 65 years, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
The Risk List includes any space object that has a higher than zero probability of hitting Earth, and the asteroid in question – 2019 SU3 – is the fourth-largest object on the list, an estimated 46 feet in diameter, still smaller than the meteorite that hit Russia’s Chelyabinsk in 2013.
According to the ESA, the asteroid has a 1 in 152 chance of colliding with our planet, which the astronomers predict may occur during or around September 2084. However, the experts say its size is not big enough to create a major impact event, so there’s probably no need to get our nuclear weapons ready and primed just yet. Probably.
The ESA predicts that the asteroid will pass by our planet at a distance of some 73,435 miles, well inside the orbit of the Moon (239,000 miles). Therefore, even the slightest gravitational pull from other planets could send it straight into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Because of that, the asteroid was put on ESA’s Risk List, allowing experts to keep a close watch on its movements, the Mail report says.