Asteroid 2022 AE1, the “riskiest asteroid” discovered on January 7 by space scientists in Europe, predicted to hit Earth by July 4, 2023 has now changed its course and is expected to peacefully pass earth, ESA reported.
The 230-feet-wide asteroid was calculated to be the deadliest one in a decade as seen in the Palermo scale which determines threats posed by near-earth objects.
If it did strike Earth, it could potentially wipe out an entire city, similar to what happened in Hiroshima towards the end of World War II. Scientists had labelled it as an inevitable hit that could not be deflected due to lack of time.
European Space Agency’s (ESA) Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre (NEOCC) initially found increased collision risk and the estimations were confirmed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Later, due to a bright moon, the asteroid became unobservable.
A week later, when it showed up again, fresh observations showed different results. The recalculations affirmed that the AE1 will pass earth by a secure distance of 10 kilometres, ESA announced.
Earth is not new to such threats. The 66 feet meteorite that hit Southern Russia in 2013 injuring 1,500 people is just one example.