Asteroid big enough to destroy city could hit Earth within months, ESA in shock warning - Express.co.uk

The 40-metre wide asteroid is due to pass on September 9, and experts are warning of a chance of a collision. The asteroid is called 2006 QV89, and at 40 metres it is big enough to destroy a city. The European Space Agency (ESA) states that there is a 7000-1 chance the space rock will come crashing into Earth, and while the chances may be slim, the ESA says it represents a “non-zero impact probability”.

That means scientists are not 100 percent sure of its trajectory and there is a chance of a collision.

The ESA stated on its website: “In most cases, the size presented in the table is estimated indirectly from the absolute magnitude, and flagged with an asterisk to denote its large uncertainty.

“When a better measurement is available in the literature, it replaces the estimated value.”

At 40 metres wide, the asteroid not be big enough to wipe out civilisation, but it would be more powerful than the Chelyabinsk incident, according to the ESA.

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Asteroid WARNING: Space rock could hit in September (Image: GETTY)

In 2013, a 20 metre meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, which smashed windows and caused injuries to more than 1,000 people.

Experts had not anticipated the incident, leading to fears that Earth could be surprised by a more devastating asteroid strike in the future.

Jonti Horner, Professor of astrophysics at University of Southern Queensland, has said there is still a huge risk civilisation could be destroyed by asteroids.

In an article for the Conversation, Prof Horner wrote: “The Solar system is littered with material left over from the formation of the planets. Most of it is locked up in stable reservoirs – the Asteroid belt, the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud – far from Earth.

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The path of 2006 QV89 (Image: NASA)

“Those reservoirs continually leak objects into interplanetary space, injecting fresh debris into orbits that cross those of the planets.

“The inner Solar system is awash with debris, ranging from tiny flecks of dust, to comets and asteroids many kilometres in diameter.

“The vast majority of the debris that collides with Earth is utterly harmless, but our planet still bears the scars of collisions with much larger bodies.

“We’re still trying to work out how often events like this happen. Our information on the frequency of the larger impacts is pretty limited, so estimates can vary dramatically.

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The asteroid would be more powerful than the Chelyabinsk incident (Image: GETTY)

“Typically, people argue that Tunguska-sized impacts happen every few hundred years, but that’s just based on a sample of one event.

“The truth is, we don’t really know.

“While the catalogue of potentially hazardous objects continues to grow, many still remain undetected, waiting to catch us by surprise.”


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