The European Space Agency (ESA) added a new asteroid into its risk list due to the space rock’s chances of hitting Earth in the future. The risk list is a catalogue of all space objects for which the probability of them impacting Earth is considered high enough to keep track of. Based on the data collected by the ESA, the dangerous asteroid could collide with the planet in “less than 70 years from now”.
According to the ESA, the asteroid has been identified as 2019 SU3.
It is currently listed as the fourth most dangerous asteroid in the agency’s risk list.
Aside from the risk list, 2019 SU3 is also in the agency’s priority list, which means the ESA is keeping a close eye on the asteroid’s trajectory. However, the asteroid’s small size means it does not pose a risk of a devastating impact event.
According to the agency, the asteroid’s chances of hitting Earth are “one out of 152”.
The ESA noted the asteroid’s “potential Earth impact” might take place on “September 16, 2084”.
During this time, the asteroid is expected to approach Earth from a distance of “only roughly 73,435 miles away”.
Given this short distance, a slight nudge on the asteroid could easily send it crashing to Earth.
This can happen if the asteroid gets affected by the gravitational pull of nearby planets.
The gravitational pull from any of these planets can easily alter the asteroid’s trajectory.
By the time it reaches Earth’s vicinity, it might already be on a direct collision course with the planet.
Fortunately, the asteroid is not big enough to cause a major impact event in case it collides with Earth.
As indicated in ESA’s database, 2019 SU3 has an “estimated diameter of about 46 feet”.
Due to its small size, the asteroid will “most likely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere instead of hitting the ground”.