CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – If some astronomers are right, humans might go the way of the dinosaurs in 866 years.
Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory say an asteroid over half-a-mile wide could be on a collision course with Earth
It’s called DA-1950, after the year in which it was first discovered.
The asteroid was visible from Earth for 17 days, then disappeared from view.
It was rediscovered on December 31st, 2000.
Coupled with radar data made a few weeks later, astronomers predict it will come dangerously close to our planet on March 16th, 2880.
In fact, they say odds of a strike are 300-1.
While that may not sound like much for a gambler, it’s 50 percent greater than the average odds for any asteroid from now until then.
But all is not lost.
Scientists say one of any number of factors could alter the course of this space rock, including gravity, interactions with other bodies which may not yet have been discovered, the surface shape and even how much heat and light it reflects.
Which would be a relief for our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren.
(That’s 35 generations.)
Discovery.com says there are over 10,000 near-Earth objects identified to date.
Paleontologists theorize an asteroid impact 65 million years ago may have have caused the dinosaur extinction.