Thursday, January 9, 2014
Nasa spacecraft spots 'potentially hazardous' new asteroid 2013YP139
Asteroid 2013 YP139 has been spotted by Neowise (Picture: Nasa)
Nasa’s asteroid-hunting telescope has spotted its first potential threat.
Neowise located the 640m wide (2,100ft) rock, named 2013 YP139, about 27million miles from Earth.
Its orbit could bring it to within 300,000 miles of Earth, slightly more than the distance to the Moon.
Nasa says a hit by an asteroid any larger than 800m in diameter could have devastating effects.
Scientists said 2013 YP139’s long-term motion was being closely monitored to see how close it may come to Earth.
Neowise was put into ‘hibernation’ by Nasa in 2011 after it completed its mission of surveying the sky in infrared light.
It was reactivated last August to start a new mission to find and characterise asteroids.