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» »Unlabelled » Bigger than Apophis: Dangerous 300+ meter asteroid to cross Earth orbit every 3 years

Scientists have calculated that 2014 UR116 asteroid will fly in dangerous proximity to Earth every three years. If it collides with the planet the energy of the explosion could be a thousand times greater than the impact of the Chelyabinsk meteorite.

Vladimir Lipunov, a leading scientist on the team which
discovered the asteroid this October, says the scientists now
know its orbit and its period which is 3 years, but they cannot
say precisely when the asteroid will approach the Earth.

“We should track it constantly. Because if we have a single
mistake, there will be a catastrophe. The consequences can be
very serious,”
he said in the documentary “Asteroids attack” posted on Roscosmos website.

The new asteroid, called 2014 UR116 is about 370 meters in
diameter. Its size exceeds the famous Apophis which the Earth can
meet in the next decade. The exact trajectory of 2014 UR116 is
yet to be determined, but theoretically it may collide with the
Earth, Mars or Venus. Its trajectory can fluctuate because of the
gravitational pull of these planets.

READ MORE: 1,000 times stronger than Chelyabinsk
meteorite: New asteroid may threaten Earth

Some specialists believe we can be sure for a certain period of
time that no collision will happen. Viktoria Damm from the
Siberian Geodesic Academy Planetarium told TASS news agency that
when the asteroid flies near Mars, its trajectory may change.
That’s why the time of approach is unknown but she believes it
will not happen in the coming two years.

Orbit of asteroid 2014 UR116 as of November 3 (Image credit: JPL/NASA)

In case of a collision
with the Earth the energy of the explosion could be a thousand
times greater than the Chelyabinsk meteorite. When a meteorite
burst above the city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, the impact
was estimated to be equivalent to 440-500 kilotons of TNT. But
the Chelyabinsk meteorite was relatively small, about 17 meters
in diameter and it disintegrated with a blast at an altitude of
over 20 kilometers.

It is also important to
define the composition of an asteroid. If it consists of stone it
generally breaks into small parts, but metal asteroid can reach
the surface of Earth, according to Stanislav Korotky, Ka Dar
observatory scientific director. The famous Arizona crater is the
track of a metal asteroid.

READ MORE: Meteorite hits Russian Urals: Fireball
explosion wreaks havoc, up to 1,200 injured (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

The Chelyabinsk meteorite prompted the scientists to fully engage
in projects of space security. Russian space agency Roscosmos
plans to work out a special system to stand against dangerous
asteroids by 2025. The agency wants to use new technologies to
change the orbits of asteroids, including different kinds of
robots, for instance, robots-cleaners to take away the space
rubbish from Earth orbit.

Meanwhile, NASA is working on projects Orbita@home and Spacewatch
and plans to deploy The Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert
System (ATLAS) in 2015.

The asteroid 2014 UR116 was discovered with the help of Russia's
network of robotic

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