The sky is falling - again....
Asteroid has 1-in-60ish chance of Earth hit
By Robert Roy Britt, SPACE.com
An asteroid that has a small chance of hitting Earth in the year 2029 was upgraded to an unprecedented level of risk Friday, Dec. 24. Scientists still stress, however, that odds are further observations will show the space rock won't be on a collision course with the planet.
The risk rating for asteroid 2004 MN4 was raised Friday by NASA and a separate group of researchers in Italy.
The asteroid's chance for hitting Earth on April 13, 2029 has now been categorized as a 4 on the Torino Scale. The level 4 rating — never before issued — is reserved for "events meriting concern" versus the vast majority of potentially threatening asteroids that merely merit "careful monitoring."
The Dec. 24 update from NASA states:
"2004 MN4 is now being tracked very carefully by many astronomers around the world, and we continue to update our risk analysis for this object. Today's impact monitoring results indicate that the impact probability for April 13, 2029 has risen to about 1.6%, which for an object of this size corresponds to a rating of 4 on the ten-point Torino Scale. Nevertheless, the odds against impact are still high, about 60 to 1, meaning that there is a better than 98% chance that new data in the coming days, weeks, and months will rule out any possibility of impact in 2029."
Posted 12/25/2004 3:50 AM
News from SPACE.com
Science & Space news on USATODAY.com
//Poster's comment: Meanwhile, M$N vows that MN4 will not impact Longhorn in the slightest...//