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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Good news: The world is NOT going to be hit by a giant asteroid

Tales of our planet’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

File photo of an asteroid
File photo of an asteroid
Image: Nasa

NASA HAS RELEASED a statement assuring us the world won’t end next month.

The space agency was responding to recent reports that incorrectly claim an asteroid will hit Earth sometime between 15 and 28 September.

The statement reads:

“On one of those dates, as rumours go, there will be an impact — evidently near Puerto Rico — causing wanton destruction to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico, as well as Central and South America.”

“There is no scientific basis — not one shred of evidence — that an asteroid or any other celestial object will impact Earth on those dates,” Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object office in Pasadena, Californi, said.

The office added said it hasn’t observed any asteroids or comets that would impact Earth any time in the foreseeable future.

“All known potentially hazardous asteroids have less than a 0.01% chance of impacting Earth in the next 100 years,” the statement added.

“If there were any object large enough to do that type of destruction in September, we would have seen something of it by now,” Chodas said.

Not the first time

Nasa noted this isn’t the first time “a wild, unsubstantiated claim of a celestial object about to impact Earth has been made”, adding: “Unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last. It seems to be a perennial favourite of the world wide web.”

In 2011, there were rumours about the so-called ‘doomsday’ comet Elenin, which never posed any danger of harming Earth and broke up into a stream of small debris in space.

Some people also asserted the world would end on 21 December 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar.

Nasa added that earlier this year, asteroids 2004 BL86 and 2014 YB35 “were said to be on dangerous near-Earth trajectories, but their flybys of our planet in January and March went without incident”.

“There is no existing evidence that an asteroid or any other celestial object is on a trajectory that will impact Earth. In fact, not a single one of the known objects has any credible chance of hitting our planet over the next century,” Choas said.

So that’s that then.

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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