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10. NASA’s take, however, is much more measured:
“With only a week of observations for an orbital period that spans almost four years, its future orbital path is still quite uncertain, but this asteroid could be back in Earth’s neighborhood in 2032.”
11. According to Don Yeomans at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., the probability that the asteroid will not hit Earth is 99.998%.
12. It passed Earth once already in September at a distance of 6.7 million kilometres.
That’s about 17 times the distance to the moon, and just inside the threshold to be classed “potentially hazardous”.
13. Using the information scientists have at the moment, they estimate the asteroid could come back round to Earth again in 2032.
Even if it does, the probability of an impact is only 1 in 63,000.
14. But that’s based on a week’s worth of data, and the asteroid’s orbit lasts four years. With more data, the odds are likely to go way down. Yeomans says:
With more observations, I fully expect we will be able to significantly reduce, or rule out entirely, any impact probability for the foreseeable future.