Washington: Scientists have identified an asteroid, which has a one in 625 chance of hitting Earth on February 5, 2040.
The width of the space rock, called 2011 AG5, is 460 feet.
The United Nations Action Team on near-Earth object has started their discussions on how to divert the asteroid, amid fears that the probability of a collision could increase over the next few years.
While the object has the potential to wipe out millions of lives if it landed on a city, it is far smaller than the nine-mile wide asteroid, which is believed to have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, a newspaper reported.
Till now, scientists have only been able to observe half of 2011 AG5’s orbit, and are hoping to acquire more information about the asteroid’s path between 2013 and 2016, when it will be feasible to monitor it from the ground.
This will enable them to decide if action needs to be taken to attempt to change the course of the object.
NASA has asserted that the options comprise deflecting the asteroid by fastening a probe to it and using the extra gravity this would create to steer it away from Earth over the course of millions of light years.
Nuclear weapons could also be used to break up the asteroid, although this would most likely produce a potentially deadly shower of rocks.