In the 1998 Michael Bay disaster thriller appropriately named “Armageddon,” Bruce Willis and a cardboard cut out of Ben Affleck had to save the world from the surefire destruction of a massive asteroid that was on a collision course with Earth and threatened to kill off all of mankind dinosaur-style. Since it was in fact a Michael Bay movie, a lot of stuff explodes and there’s a fluffy fluff love story that includes Liv Tyler and Affleck. Plus, there’s some action crap that includes Willis and the cardboard cutout going up to space to drill a hole in the asteroid in order to blow it up from the inside before it kills everyone and their mom on earth.
Anyway, this won’t be as dramatic as all that.
On March 5, 2016, an asteroid named 2013 TX68 will pass by Earth between nine million and 11 million miles away from our atmosphere.
Because it’s believed that it won’t hit anything in orbit (like geostationary satellites), there will be no need to send up Willis to, you know, blow it to bits and stuff.
The asteroid will do a lap back around outside of our atmosphere on Sept. 28, 2017, and again in 2046 and 2097, but each time it will be flying farther away from us.
Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’S Center for NEO Studies in California released a statement, assuring the public that, “The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates are far too small to be of any real concern. I fully expect any future observations to reduce the probability even more.”
NASA has been only tracking 2013 TX68 for a few years, which explains why they don’t know the exact distance within which it will swing by our planet. Rest assured, however, that they do know it won’t kill us all.
To give us an idea of the asteroid’s size, it’s said to be massively larger than the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russia three years ago. That asteroid was 100 feet in diameter and when it entered the atmosphere, it managed to injure hundreds.
Scientists claim that if an asteroid of medium-size does happen to crash into our atmosphere, it would dramatically change the earth’s climate by throwing large quantities of dust into the air and start massive fires from the soot formed in the air, which would stay in the air for about six to 10 years. These dust and soot particles would be warmed by the sun and eventually destroy the ozone layer completely.
Because of the heavy amount of dust in the air, the core temperature would drop because the sunlight has no way of getting through, and the global surface temperatures could drop by 14.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which would be heavily felt in the oceans, making the sea-ice cover increase.
The domino effect would be insanely destructive to mankind as it would end up affecting our plant and produce productivity.
Calm down. That’s a worst-case scenario that won’t happen with this asteroid. However, we might well be able to see it with our naked eyes. Well, maybe.
“This asteroid’s orbit is quite uncertain, and it will be hard to predict where to look for it,” Chodas explained. “There is a chance that the asteroid will be picked up by our asteroid search telescopes when it safely flies past us next month, providing us with data to more precisely define its orbit around the sun.”
So put down that drill, Willis – you’re not going anywhere just yet.