A giant asteroid may collide with Earth in the following decades as researchers identified more than 62 trajectories that may lead to a catastrophic impact.
The closest date on which an impact may occur is August 8 2023 when the asteroid will come dangerously close to our planet. One year later it will pass by us on a similar path. It is estimated that there are 62 possible impact trajectories, spread over the span of 94 years.
The actual probability of impact is quite low and the risk is almost non-existent according to the Torino Impact Hazard Scale. What makes the asteroid interesting is a large number of possible encounters which makes it particularly hard to monitor and track accurately.
Measuring an impressive 700 ft. (or 213 meters) in length the asteroid is twice the size of the Statue of Liberty. It also travels incredibly fast at a speed of 33,844 miles per hour or approximately 15 kilometers per second.
In the case of an impact the power of the explosion could reach 50 megatons, on par with the Tsar Bomb which is the strongest nuclear device that was tested on Earth.
There is no need to panic as it is estimated that an impact on such a scale only happens less than once in one thousand years. The asteroid should be at least 6 miles wide (approximately 10 km) in order to cause an extinction event that can be compared to the one that decimated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
According to the European Space Agency over 90% of the asteroids that travel through our solar system have been discovered. The main risk is represented by asteroids that measure several hundreds of meters in diameter since their trajectory can change over time due to various reasons.
The LF16 has been discovered by NASA’s Sentry System, which tracks all the objects that are on a potentially dangerous trajectory.