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Asteroid 2014 UR116, A 400-meter Sized Near-Earth Asteroid, Represents No Threat to the Earth

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Posted December 10, 2014

Some recent press reports have suggested that an asteroid designated 2014 UR116, found on October 27, 2014, at the MASTER-II observatory in Kislovodsk, Russia, represents an impact threat to the Earth. While this approximately 400-meter sized asteroid has a three year orbital period around the sun and returns to the Earth’s neighborhood periodically, it does not represent a threat because its orbital path does not pass sufficiently close to the Earth’s orbit.

Illustration of small asteroids passing near Earth. Credit: ESA / P. Carril

Illustration of small asteroids passing near Earth. Credit: ESA / P. Carril

Furthermore, Tim Spahr, Director of the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge Massachusetts, has also re-computed this object’s orbit after noticing that it was the same as an object observed six years ago. Using both sets of observations, the future motion of this asteroid was carried further forward in time using the automatic computations made by the Sentry system at NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. These computations rule out this object as an impact threat to Earth (or any other planet) for at least the next 150 years.

Any statements about risk for impact of discovered asteroids and comets should be verified by scientists and the media by accessing NASA’ Near Earth Object (NEO) Program web site or the European equivalent, the NEO Dynamic Site .

Source: NASA

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