The "object", which could be an asteroid, but also just space debris, was first discovered by astronomers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Experts in Italy and Finland confirmed the discovery.
In the case of a maximum size asteroid, the collision could be as powerful as a nuclear bomb blast, said Don Yeomans, Program Manager in Pasadena. However, it is very unlikely that this will happen. Previous calculations indicated that the "object" would miss the earth by about six million kilometers. Only because of "uncertainties" in orbit was the probability of a collision at one in 500 numbered and thus relatively high.
It is also very questionable that it is even an asteroid. "In the unlikely event that it comes to a hit, that it is an asteroid and also one of the largest possible extent, then you would be worried, " said Yeomans. "Overall, the likelihood that this comes together is as great as the likelihood that we'll be hit in the same year by any object of the same size that we do not even know about today."dpa display