NASA’s asteroid trackers have just revealed that Asteroid 2014 MV67 is currently heading towards Earth, and will be making its closest approach on April 3, 2019.
According to the Express, as an example of just how enormous this asteroid is, the building which is closest in size to this 1,772-foot piece of space rock is the Ostankino Tower in Moscow, Russia, with the asteroid even eclipsing both the Empire State Building in New York and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. In fact, it has even been reported to be five-and-a-half times larger than Big Ben in London, making this asteroid truly formidable.
After its April 3 appearance, the asteroid will not head towards Earth again until March 22, 2022, and again on March 26, 2025. While the chances of Asteroid MV67 actually crashing into Earth are extremely low, this asteroid is nevertheless traveling at an exceedingly fast speed of approximately 30,000 miles per hour (mph) — or 13.32 kilometers per second (km/s).
Assuming the asteroid actually made atmospheric impact, its speed would increase greatly to a whopping 38,877 mph (17.38 km/s). And if Asteroid MV67 actually were to crash into Earth, its effects would be utterly devastating.
With NASA reporting that this asteroid weighs around 220,000,000 tons, an impact with the Earth would yield a force equivalent to detonating around 7,900 million tons of TNT. The nuclear bomb known as Little Boy — which was detonated over Hiroshima during World War II — only exploded with a force of around 13,000 to 18,000 tons of TNT, demonstrating just how very deadly this asteroid would be should it ever strike Earth.
— Rebecca (@nursebeckles79) February 16, 2019
However, NASA has stated that we should be safe from Asteroid MV67 for now and that there are no reported threats of either asteroids or comets striking Earth for at least a few hundred years.
“NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small. In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.”
On February 15, NASA estimated that the risk of impact from asteroids are quite low, with only a one in 2,100,000,000 chance that an asteroid like MV67 will actually hit Earth. In other words, the odds are stacked greatly in our favor, with a 99.999999953 percent chance that this asteroid, along with others, will stay clear of our planet completely.
To help NASA determine what risks asteroids pose to Earth, they are currently using their Sentry monitoring systems which allow scientists to determine if there are any significant risks associated with asteroids that have been detected.
“Sentry is a highly automated collision monitoring system that continually scans the most current asteroid catalogue for possibilities of future impact with Earth over the next 100 years. Whenever a potential impact is detected it will be analyzed and the results immediately published here, except in unusual cases where we seek independent confirmation,” NASA explained.
With April just around the corner and Asteroid MV67 set to make its closest approach to Earth then, Sentry and NASA stand on guard to monitor its path and that of other asteroids, in an effort to keep us safe.