Asteroid 2013 TV135 Given Slim Chance of Terrestrial Impact, Leads to More Doomsday Predictions Anyway

Recently, Ukrainian astronomers discovered an asteroid that some are warning could pose a risk of impacting earth in the future and cause global calamity.

Astronomers at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory discovered the celestial object on 8 October and later catalogued as 2013 TV135. It is currently only one of 10,332 identified near-Earth objects whose orbit takes them close to Earth.

The asteroid is reportedly roughly 1,300 feet and should it impact Earth damage would be felt over an area larger than 100,000 square miles. The impact would be the equivalent of 2,500 megatons of explosives. By contrast, the average United States nuclear warhead carries an explosive power of around 1 megaton.

After tracking the asteroid the astronomers realized that it had passed close Earth on September 16, coming within about 5.5 million miles of our planet.

At that distance it is more that than 17 times the distance to the moon, but any asteroid whose orbit takes the object closer than 6 million miles from Earth is automatically labeled as "potentially hazardous" and listed by the International Astronomical Union on a the Dangerous.html webpage.

After news of the discovery began to spread and fears of an impact grew NASA was quick to reassure the global population that the odds of impact are extremely small.

"To put it another way, that puts the current probability of no impact in 2032 at about 99.998 percent." Don Yeomans, the manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, read in a statement.

"This is a relatively new discovery. With more observations, I fully expect we will be able to significantly reduce, or rule out entirely, any impact probability for the foreseeable future," he added.

Still, after a preliminary orbit calculation, asteroid 2013 TV135 could pass close to Earth again in 2032. During that orbital pass the uncertainties in the actual orbit mean put the risk of impact at 1-in-63,000 furthering the fears of doomsday preppers.