Set the date: On May 6, 2022, Earth could face its disappearance from a ginormous and flattening continent asteroid.
Yes, I know you're rolling your eyes – another day, another killer asteroid. You'll probably be thinking, "This is just paranoid rabble."
Well … really. However, in fact, there is a dangerous chunk of space rock approaching us, and there is a (hilarious) little chance that it might hurl our planet.
Let me introduce you to JF1. He is robust, dangerous and you better believe he is coming.
NASA first discovered the asteroid in 2009. Over the past decade, the space agency's automated asteroid observation system – known as Sentry – has been tasked with keeping an eye on it.
It has been designated as a "close earth object" (NEO), which means it is in orbit from the sun and poses a "threat" to our planet.
A NASA spokesman explained:
Some asteroids and comets follow orbital paths that take them much closer to the sun and thus to Earth than usual. If approaching a comet or asteroid brings it to 1.3 astronomical units of the sun, we call it a near-earth object.
An astronomical unit is about 93 million miles – so it's not exactly close. What's scary is the size: experts report that the JF1 measures about 130 meters in diameter, adding that it may be the same size as the Great Giza Pyramid in Egypt.
If JF1 hit the ground, it would collide with the force of 230 kilotonnes of TNT. To put it in context, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 exploded with the force of 15 kilotonnes of TNT.
A 2018 White House report on the dangers of an asteroid impact explained:
Larger NEOs over 140 meters could potentially cause serious damage to entire regions or continents. Such objects would hit Earth with a minimum energy of over 60 megatons of TNT, which is more than the most powerful nuclear device ever tested. Fortunately, these are much less common and are easier to detect and track than smaller NEOs.
NASA added that Sentry & # 39; continually examines the most current asteroid catalog for possible future impact with the Earth for the next 100 years. Another asteroid is registered to impact 2880 (not a typo).
Don't worry too much. NASA puts the chances of JF1 actually hitting us at 0.026%, so there is a more than 99% chance of it not happening. I doubt Paddy Power will allow me to put a note.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited degree in Multimedia Journalism, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National while also working as a freelance film journalist alongside becoming a critic. Rotten Tomatoes accredited in the process. He left his Scottish lands and moved to UNILAD as a journalist.