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October 19 2013

Asteroid threat in 2032? Don't panic, but don't brush it off


A big asteroid sailed past Earth last month, and astronomers haven't yet totally excluded the possibility that it'll hit us when it comes around in 2032. If the past is any guide, we won't have to worry about asteroid 2013 TV135 but it's a reminder that we'll have to fend off a killer space rock one of these days.

Ukrainian astronomers discovered 2013 TV135 just 10 days ago, well after the asteroid had its close encounter with Earth on Sept. 16. Actually, it wasn't all that close: The distance was 4.2 million miles (6.7 million kilometers), or about 17 times as far away as the moon. But based on the rough estimates of its orbital path, experts rated its chances of colliding with Earth during a follow-up encounter in 2032 at 1 in 63,000.

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