NASA asteroid WARNING: Space rock as powerful as 50 MEGATON nuke could slam into Earth

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NASA asteroid WARNING: Space rock as powerful as 50 MEGATON nuke could slam into Earth

NASA said the giant asteroid – dubbed 2018 LF16 – is a whopping 700ft, making it twice the size of the Big Ben in London.

The rock has a staggering 62 different potential impact trajectories with our planet – each of them waiting to sling the asteroid toward Earth over the next 100 years.

The first of these unnerving opportunities will arise just five years from now – occurring on August 8, 2023. 

Other potential impact dates in the near future fall on August 3, 2024, and on August 1, 2025.

The asteroid was last seen by astronomers on June 16. 

nasa asteroid

WARNING: NASA is monitoring an asteroid that could smash into Earth (Pic: Getty)

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It is currently hurtling through space at a speed of more than 33,844 miles per hour. 

But there is no guarantee the asteroid will slam into Earth. 

In fact, NASA estimates that the asteroid has a one in 30 million chance of crashing into our planet. 

This translates into a 99.9999967% chance of a miss in the event that asteroid 2018 LF16 does come wandering too close to home.

**Shock NASA asteroid WARNING ‘Undetected space rock could strike any day’**

asteroid

NEAR EARTH: There are fears about how effectively NASA is tracking asteroids (Pic: Getty)

This particular space rock ranks as a level “zero” threat on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale – meaning that its likelihood of a collision with Earth is nonexistent or close to non-existent.

Despite that, the US space agency will continue to keep an eye on this formidable space rock.

Our solar system is packed full of gigantic space rocks, some of which are more than 1 kilometre in size.

We are tracking the movements of about 90% of these, which would wipe out humanity if they ploughed into Earth.

That means there are a vast number of rogue rocks which could be on a collision course with our planet.

nasa asteroid

DESTRUCTION: Scientists monitor the skies for asteroids which may threaten Earth (Pic: Getty)

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Astronomer Patrick Michel previously said: “If these bodies impact Earth, they can cause regional damage across a whole country or even a continent.”

The last known asteroid impact levelled vast swathes of the Siberian Tunguska forest in 1908.

A much small asteroid struck over Chelyabinsk Oblast in Russia in 2013, injuring 1,000 people with shattered glass caused by the asteroid exploding in the sky.

Thankfully, Asteroid WB105 will not come close enough to strike the Earth but its trajectory is near enough for NASA to pay attention.

asteroid russia

IMPACT: A massive meteor smashed into the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in 2013 (Pic: Getty)

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nasa asteroid

TECH: An artist’s impression of the proposed NEOCam spacecraft, which would hunt for asteroids (Pic: NASA)

Asteroid WB105 is a so-called Near Earth Object (NEO) on an Earth Close Approach.

NEOs are all asteroids and comets which approach our home world with 30 million miles (50 million km) of its orbit.

There are several proposed ways to tackle asteroids. 

The first would involve a “gravity tractor”, which is essentially a space ship designed to tug the rock onto a new path using its own gravitational pull.

**NASA reveals bold plan to save Earth from asteroids**

asteroid dinosaurs

DANGER: Dinosaurs went extinct when a massive asteroid smashed into Earth (Pic: Getty)

“It could hit soon”

NASA

Others would involve blasting the space rock with some sort of projectile to try and steer it onto a new course, or even blowing it up with a nuke.

However, this could backfire on humanity because it would cause radioactive rock fragments to rain down on the planet.

Global-level catastrophes involving six-mile (10km) asteroids appear to strike less often than every 10million years.

One of these past impacts was likely responsible for the death of the dinosaurs.

The flyby comes days after Daily Star Online revealed Stephen Hawking’s final thoughts on space rocks.

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