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Posted by Boghound on August 19, 2010


Giant asteroid ‘heading for Earth in 2182

team of experts, including some working for NASA, believes the 612-yards-wide object has a one-in-a-thousand chance of an impact 172 years from now.

The odds of a crash are considerably shorter than those given for the asteroid Apophis, which has a 1 in 250,000 chance of striking Earth in 2036.

A report in the solar system journal, Icarus, said the odds of an earlier impact were more remote but increased by 2080 when its orbit will bring it swinging back towards Earth.

Maria Eugenia Sansaturio from the Universidad de Valladolid in Spain, who co-led the research, told Universe Today that knowledge of the risk posed by the asteroid "may help design in advance mechanisms aimed at deviating the asteroid’s path."

It was first discovered in 1999 and is more than twice the size of Apophis. If it were to hit it is likely to cause widespread devastation and possible mass extinction.

Sansaturio added: "The consequence … is not just the likelihood of a comparatively large impact, but also that a realistic deflection procedure, or path deviation could only be made before the impact in 2080, and more easily, before 2060.2

Previous asteroid impacts are thought to have created massive craters and tsunamis and have even been blamed for the extinction of the dinosaurs.

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