Washington: NASA has said that an asteroid will pass so close to Earth early next month that humans might be able to see it in the sky.
Dubbed 2013 TX68, the 30-metre wide asteroid will pass somewhere between 18,000km (11,000 miles) of Earth, or about 14 million kilometers (9 million miles) on March 5th.
“This asteroid’s orbit is quite uncertain, and it will be hard to predict where to look for it,” NASA Centre for Near Earth Object Studies manager Paul Chodas said. “There is a chance that the asteroid will be picked up by our asteroid search telescopes when it safely flies past us next month, providing us with data to more precisely define its orbit around the Sun.”
Although the asteroid will not hit Earth this year, there is a 1 in 250 million chance that the object could hit us in 2017 on one of its later flybys, said NASA.
Asteroid 2013 TX68 was discovered by NASA in October 2013. The asteroid was approaching Earth on the night-time side of the planet when it was first spotted by NASA. But the asteroid couldn't be seen after three days of tracking, the asteroid moved into the day-time sky so it could no longer be monitored.
NASA said if an asteroid like 2013 TX68 were to hit the Earth, it would produce an air burst about twice the energy of the Chelyabinsk event.
An asteroid half the size of 2013 TX68 hit Earth On February 15, 2013, and exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, damaging buildings, shaterring windows, injuring some 1,500 people by flying debris.