Ukrainian astronomers discover 1,300 ft asteroid heading for possible devastating 2032 impact with Earth

Chance of collision is 1 in 63,000 – enough for 2013 TV135 to be added to Nasa’s Torino scale for risky near Earth objects

Adam Withnall
Friday 18 October 2013 10:30
Comments
2013 TV135 could impact Earth with the force of 2,500 small nuclear warheads
2013 TV135 could impact Earth with the force of 2,500 small nuclear warheads

Ukrainian astronomers have discovered a large asteroid heading for Earth which could strike our planet on 26 August 2032, impacting with a force 50 times greater than the biggest ever nuclear bomb.

Its existence has been verified by teams around the world, in at least 27 distinct observations over the course of the past week, and Nasa has been forced to issue an earth impact risk summary as part of its Near Earth Object Program.

The 1,300 foot (400 metre) wide asteroid has been named 2013 TV135. There is a 1 in 63,000 chance of the asteroid striking earth – enough for it to be added to the Torino scale which measures the risk of all objects which could reach Earth in the next 100 years.

According to Nasa there is only one other asteroid that has made it to a 1 (out of 10) on the scale. At 130 metres wide, 2007 VK184 is nonetheless regarded as relatively high risk because it has a 1 in 1,820 chance of impacting Earth. All other near Earth objects are rated as a 0 – meaning their risk is “effectively zero”.

Gennady Borisov from the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory told the Itar-Tass news agency: “On the night of 12 October, I was watching the Giraffe constellation, it was an in-depth monitoring as part of the comet search program. This is when the asteroid… was discovered. The first observations show that it moves quickly and is relatively close.”

If it struck the earth, the impact from 2013 TV135 would cause damage to an area of approximately 100,000 square miles – the equivalent of x – with an equivalent force to about 2,500 megatons of TNT, or 2,500 standard nuclear warhead-bearing US Minute Man II missiles.

“Here’s a super-goal for our space industry,” said Russia’s deputy prime minister Dmity Rogozin, who is responsible for the country’s space programmes and has lobbied for Russia to develop asteroid defence systems.

Astronomers say they will continue to evaluate the risk posed by 2013 TV135, and that they may be able to pin down its exact path – and even a possible impact site on Earth – by the year 2028.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in