Russian Scientist Says ‘Mountain-Size Asteroid Crosses Paths With Earth Every 3yrs; Potential For Collision Down The Road

Russian Scientist Says ‘Mountain-Size Asteroid Crosses Paths With Earth Every 3yrs; Potential For Collision Down The Road

Sarah Knapton, writes in the December 9, 2014 London newspaper, The Telegraph, that “a mountain-sized asteroid has recently been discovered, that crosses paths with Earth every three years. Russian scientist, Vladimir Lipunov, a Professor at Moscow State University said, the space rock, named ‘2014 UR116’ “poses no immediate threat; but, warned “it could hit Earth with an explosion 1,000 times greater than the surprise 2013 impact of a bus-sized meteor in Russia.” “That object,” Ms. Knapton writes, “entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, resulting in a series of ferocious blasts that blew out windows and damaged buildings for miles around.”

Professor Lipunov said “it is difficult to calculate the orbit of big rocks like ‘2104 UR116,’ because their trajectories are constantly being changed by the gravitational pull of other planets.” And, Ms. Knapton writes, he warned that “its existence proves how little scientists know about asteroids which could cause harm to the planet.”

“We need to permanently track this asteroid; because, even a small mistake in calculations could have serious consequences,” he said. NASA issued a statement stating that ‘2014 UR 116’ does not pass close enough to the Earth to be considered a threat.” The space agency added, “while this approximately 400 meter-sized asteroid has a three-year orbital period around the sun, — and, returns to the Earth’s neighborhood periodically, it does not represent a threat because its orbital path does not pass sufficiently close to the Earth’s orbit,” NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office said in a statement. NASA said their computer models showed the asteroid wouldn’t be a threat to Earth for at least another 150yrs.

Ms. Knapton writes that “of the 100,000 near-Earth objects that can cross our planet’s orbit, and are large enough to be dangerous — only about 11,000 so far have been tracked and catalogued.”

Last week, which I posted about on this blog, scientists from around the world issued a statement warning that asteroids could wipe out humanity — unless more effort was made to find and destroy them.” Systems are already in place to track large asteroids,, Ms. Knapton writes; but, recent research suggests that rocks as small as 164 feet (about a half a football field) across would still be big enough to cause devastating results on Earth.

“NASA has done a very good job of finding the very largest objects, the ones that would destroy the human race,” said Ed Lu, an astronaut who flew three trips to the International Space Station. “It’s the ones that would destroy a city; or hit the economy for a couple of hundred years….that are the problem.” V/R, RCP

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