It reads like the plot of a grade-B science fiction movie. A huge (1 kilometer wide) asteroid is hurtling through deep space on track toward Earth. Should we be worried, and what can be done to avoid the impact?
The Minor Planet Center has designated the giant space rock, named ‘2014 JO25,’ as a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA). PHAs are asteroids larger than 100 meters that can come as close to Earth as about 4,658,000 miles.
Astronomers are keeping a close watch on it, but don’t believe it’s on a collision course with our planet, at least for right now. Its current course will be the closest it gets in 400 years, but it’s expected to fly by again in 2091 at a greater distance. The monster asteroid regularly makes close approaches to Mercury and Venus too.
Learn more about the path of this asteroid, and how close it will come to Earth and how soon. The real story can be found on the next page.