Next month, another close fly-by asteroid will pass Earth, but there are fortunately no chances of impact that could be damaging to our planet or its population.
- Asteroid 2013 TX68 was first discovered in October 2013
- It’s likely to pass by our planet on March 5th of this year
- Due to the short glimpse into its pattern, astronomers cannot precisely predict how close it would get, but it will definitely not collide with our planet
- The margin of error stands between 11,000 miles and 9 million miles
NASA announced that asteroid 2013 TX68 will pass Earth on March 5th, but will definitely not collide with our planet. One could say that it might then offer a source of fascination and something to analyze by astronomers, but it’s difficult to say if it will be the case. The asteroid orbit is a bit of a mystery and the margin of error far too wide to fully know its trajectory.
The upcoming fly-by rock was first discovered in October 2013, though scientists have gotten a very short glimpse at it. It was around 1 million miles away, and it was only observed for 3 days in total while on the night side of Earth. Once moved to day time, it became difficult for astronomers to further analyze, and, thus, its true path has remained largely unknown.
NASA’s estimations of how close 2013 TX68 will get to our planet ranges from 11,000 miles (18,000 km) to 9 million miles (14 million km) away. It’s safe to say it’s a pretty wide margin, which makes it impossible to predict if the asteroid will be visible on our sky with a telescope or much too far away for observation. Due to its relatively small size, which is around 100 feet (30 m) across, it may pose as a challenge for astronomers.
And, possibly a bit of a tease. It could be there, or it might not.
According to Paul Chodas, from NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEO), the asteroid’s orbit is “quite uncertain”. Its trajectory might actually be easier to understand after it passes our planet, even though Earth’s gravity might influence it. The space rock could also pass within 12,500 miles (20,000 km) of the Moon, which could further impact its orbit.
It’s important to determine 2013 TX68’s trajectory, as CNEO stated it could actually collide with Earth on September 28th, 2017 if its current path has been properly understood and remains firm to its course. However, while there is a chance of that happening, it’s very remote. According to CNEO, it’s a 1 in 250 million shot, so there’s no need to panic or prepare the bunker.
Image source: guardianlv.com