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A lost asteroid could hit Earth this year, but the chances are small

Updated Jan 3rd, 2024 9:58PM EST
A comet or asteroid entering the Earth's atmosphere
Image: Aliaksandr Marko/Adobe

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A “lost asteroid” that hasn’t been seen since it was first discovered in 2007 has some scientists worried about the potential of an Earth-bound collision this year, reports indicate. The asteroid is known as 2007 FT3, and it was first discovered by astronomers in 2007. However, it vanished within a day or so of the discovery.

Since it vanished, NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has tried to determine where the asteroid will travel, working to monitor it and the 32,000 other near-Earth asteroids we already know about. Now, some experts have revealed that the lost asteroid could hit Earth in 2024.

Comet, asteroid, meteorite flying to the planet EarthImage source: Tryfonov/Adobe

It’s not a definitive impact by any means, as the asteroid’s path cannot be wholly determined since it has been lost in space. However, NASA officials say there is a roughly 1 in 11.5 million chance of the lost asteroid crashing into Earth in October of 2024.

If it does hit Earth, the asteroid would detonate with the force of 2.6 billion tons of TNT. It wouldn’t be enough to destroy the planet, but it would cause massive damage wherever it landed and probably send shockwaves throughout the planet.

It’s scary to think there might be an unseen asteroid barreling toward Earth. But this is far from the first time we’ve had to worry about this. Despite discovering and monitoring over 30,000 near-Earth asteroids, NASA and other agencies are confident that there are massive asteroids or comets within the Sun’s glare that we have yet to discover.

Additionally, these agencies are taking advantage of new technology – like the tech that drives the DART test that NASA completed last year – to create ways to mitigate the chances of asteroids crashing into our planet.

NASA isn’t sure what happened to the lost asteroid, but representatives for the space agency told The Standard that “There are no known asteroid impact threats to Earth at any time in the next century. Nasa and its partners diligently watch the skies to find, track, and categorize asteroids and near-Earth objects (NEOs), including those that may come close to Earth.”

So while there is that small chance, it doesn’t seem that NASA is really looking at the agency will continue to be vigilant and watch for any signs it can find.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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