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Giant Asteroid Heading for Earth Not a Threat, Says NASA

The claim by Russian scientists that a massive asteroid attack would threaten the earth in the near future is not really a threat to Earth, said NASA in a statement.

As per the recent news reports, a Russian researcher discovered a 400-metre space rock named Asteroid 2014 UR116 coming towards the Earth. However, as per reports from IANS, space.com reported that the calculations from NASA and the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, show that the asteroid 2014 UR116 does not pose a danger to Earth for at least the next 150 years.

“Some press reports have suggested that an asteroid designated 2014 UR116, found on Oct 27, 2014, at the MASTER-II observatory in Kislovodsk, Russia, represents an impact threat to the Earth,” officials at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California said in a statement.

The statement by NASA added, “While this approximately 400-meter sized asteroid has a three-year orbital period around the sun and returns to the Earth’s neighbourhood periodically, it does not represent a threat, because it’s orbital path does not pass sufficiently close to the Earth’s orbit.” NASA also states that the asteroid UR116 was first seen about six years ago.

Though the scientists are still discovering new NEOs all the time, astronomers have already tracked many of these asteroids’ orbits successfully. According to NASA, the officials estimate that they have found more than 90 percent of the NEOs in “Earth’s neighborhood” that are 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) in diameter or larger. Scientists are now focusing on discovering 90 percent of NEOs 459 feet (140 m) in size or larger.

Meanwhile, NASA is also planning to launch a robotic mission to redirect an asteroid into orbit around the Moon so that astronauts can explore the asteroid sometime in the 2020s. The asteroid redirect mission will also give NASA an opportunity to gather more data on how to change the orbit of a space rock if one should threaten Earth sometime in the future. (IANS)


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