NASA recently denied online rumors that a monster asteroid would smash Earth in late September. The space agency’s researchers said that there is no scientific evidence to back the rumors, which went viral on the Internet in the past few months.
According to the rumor mill, the unnamed asteroid would hit our planet at some point between mid-September and September 28 this year. The exact spot of the impact would be somewhere near Puerto Rico. In the wake of the collision, large stretches of coast in the U.S., Central and South America would be utterly destroyed.
At least that is what the rumor says in various blog posts and social media.
“There is no scientific basis — not one shred of evidence — that an asteroid or any other celestial object will impact Earth on those dates,”
noted the head of the agency’s Near-Earth Object (NEO) Observations Program.
Actually, the agency’s program designed to monitor NEOs states that there is no risk of collision with an asteroid or large comet in the foreseeable future, while the dangerous asteroids that at some point may crash on Earth have less than a 0.01 percent chance of doing so over the course of a century.
The NEO program also known as “SpaceGuard” is run from the U.S. space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Under the program, NEO experts along with professional and amateur astronomers worldwide survey the skies and hunt potentially dangerous NEOs. Space agencies and observatories’ researchers use the gathered data to calculate the objects’ pathways and see if there is any risk for any of them to hit Earth.
If there were an asteroid heading our way, NASA scientists would be the first to learn about it. But NASA scientists do know that such rumors existed in the past and they may exist in the future, too, since the topic is one of the highest rated on the online discussion forums.
Four years ago, similar rumors claimed that a comet called Elenin would spell the end of our world as we know it. Elenin was in the end shattered in millions if tiny pieces when it reached Earth’s upper atmosphere.
The Internet was also responsible for the asteroid-triggered doomsday predicted by the Mayan calendar for December 2012. Plus, this year two medium-sized asteroids were claimed to hit our planet. Yet, both of them zoomed by Earth and calmly continued their cosmic journey.
Image Source: Oko Planet
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