Newswise – An asteroid the size of three football fields is scheduledto zoom past Earth on Friday, April 13, 2029, coming closerto us than many telecommunications satellites in orbit. Itwill be visible to the naked eye in several countries, butit’s not likely that a large space rock like this one willactually hit the Earth, acccording to astronomer PerryGerakines, who says, “The odds that an asteroid of thismagnitude would impact the Earth are in the millions to one.Some NASA scientists say a particular person’s odds of beingaffected by an asteroid collision is comparable to those ofbeing in a major airline accident” so the asteroid impactthat wiped out the dinosaurs was a major piece of bad luck.
Astronomer David Tholen was the first scientist to spot theasteroid, using the University of Arizona’s Bok telescope.Six months later, the asteroid was spotted again inAustralia, and named “2004 MN4.” Astronomers then beganusing their computers to calculate how close the asteroidwill come to Earth, and whether it will impact the Earth orfly by. At that time, they thought the likelihood of the1,000-foot-wide stone hitting Earth was one chance in 38,which is very high in astrological terms. Ominously enough,the impact is due on Friday the 13th of 2029.
New calculations show the asteroid will miss us, but only byabout 15,000 to 25,000 miles, which is one-tenth thedistance from the Earth to the moon. What 2004 MN4 shows usis that a catastrophic asteroid impact of the kind thatwiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago is not onlypossible?it’s probably inevitable that it will happen againeventually.
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