A possible asteroid flyby in March has enthusiasts on their toes as NASA announced that near-Earth object 2013 TX68 will zip past us soon enough.
2013 TX68 was first spotted in 2013. Estimated to be approximately 100 feet in diameters, the near-Earth object is certainly a massive one. However, with several scenarios plotted by NASA scientists, the results indicate that there is really no danger embedded in the March 5th flyby.
The best case scenario for the March 5th flyby is that 2013 TX68 approaches Earth at a distance of only 11,000 miles. In this case, the massive asteroid could be spotted with the naked eyes as it zips right past our planet. The worst case scenario for those anxious to catch a glimpse of 2013 TX68 is that the asteroid follows a course keeping it at 9 million miles away from Earth. Under these circumstances, the near-Earth object will remain an elusive presence.
On Wednesday, NASA released a statement announcing the March 5th flyby. However, the same statement reads:
“The variation in possible closest-approach distances is due to the wide range of possible trajectories for this object”.
Since 2013 TX68 was only discovered a couple of years ago, tracking it hasn’t bought sufficient conclusive data to plot an exact flyby trajectory. Nonetheless, the possible asteroid flyby in March has enthusiasts on their toes. The good news is that the near-Earth-object isn’t heading for our planet in any of the NASA scenarios. A possible collision is fully excluded with the March 5th flyby.
Nonetheless, according to the manager of the Center for NEO studies with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, there are under 1 in 250 million chances that 2013 TX68 will impact Earth in September 2017. There’s even less than a collision chance for upcoming flyby in 2046 or 2097.
Paul Chodas, the manager of the Center for NEO Studies reassured everyone that the likelihood of a collision is so small that no real concern is sparked.
Asteroid 2013 TX68 was spotted as it flew by Earth almost two years ago. At the time, the asteroid remained at a distance of 1.3 million miles from Earth. A possible asteroid flyby in March has enthusiasts on their toes.
In anticipation, let’s remember the near-Earth-object which made the headlines when it exploded over Chelyabinsk. This event was caused by an asteroid approximately 65 feet in diameter. The damage to the nearby region was immense. Buildings, infrastructure and 1,000 people suffered the consequences. There is no telling of the impact results if 2013 TX68 asteroid would enter a collision track at any point in the future.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia