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Asteroid can collide with Earth, ESA warns: "non-zero … probability"



Asteroids known as Near-Earth objects are among the most dangerous space objects closely watched by space agencies around the world. The European Space Agency is paying special attention to the asteroid SU3 2019, which could collide with Earth in 70 years' time.

The space rock was recently included in the ESA risk list as it may potentially collide with Earth on September 16, 2084.

"The risk list is a catalog of all objects found to have a non-zero impact probability," wrote the ESA on its website. "Each entry contains details of the Earth's approach that has the highest impact risk (according to the Palermo scale) and includes date, size, velocity and probability."

  An artistic depiction of asteroids or near-Earth objects

An artistic depiction of asteroids or near-Earth objects that illustrates the need for a complete space-situational awareness system.
(ESA – P.Carril)

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2019 SU3 is also on the priority list of ESA used to "particularly newly discovered objects in four categories: urgent, necessary, useful and low priority. "

The ESA said 2019 SU3 is expected to lie within 0.00079 astronomical units, about 73,000 miles when it passes Earth in 2084. According to NASA, asteroids that occur within 0.05 astronomical units and have a diameter of more than 450 meters are referred to as "potentially dangerous" NEOs.

NEOs are being tracked by the NASA Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). NASA is also tracking SU3 2019, but its data will not be available until 2077, seven years ahead of ESA data.

According to a Planetary.org report from 2018, there are more than 18,000 NEOs.

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