100-Foot Asteroid to Pass Near Earth in Just Two Weeks, But Won't Collide

First Posted: Feb 22, 2016 08:28 AM EST

An asteroid is expected to make a close approach to Earth in just two weeks. Don't worry, though; scientists have found that there's no chance that it will impact Earth.

Two years ago, the same asteroid flew past Earth at 1.3 million miles away. This new pass, which will take place on March 5, will be much closer.

Knowing as asteroid 2013 TX68, the object could fly anywhere between 9 million miles to 11,000 miles away from Earth. The variation in possible closest distances is due to the wide range of possible trajectories for this object, since it was tracked for only a short time after its discovery. With that said, there's no chance that it will collide with Earth.

"The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates are far too small to be of any real concern," said Paul Chodas, manager of CNEOS, in a news release. "I fully expect any future observations to reduce the probability even more."

The asteroid is estimated to be about 100 feet in diameter. By comparison, the asteroid that broke up in the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia three years ago was about 65 feet wide. If an asteroid the size of 2013 TX68 were to enter Earth's atmosphere, it would probably produce an air burst with about twice the energy of the Chelyabinsk event.

"This asteroid's orbit is quite uncertain, and it will be hard to predict where to look for it," said Chodas. "There is a chance that the asteroid will be picked up by our asteroid search telescopes when it safely flies past us next month, providing us with data to more precisely define its orbit around the sun."

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