An asteroid the size of the Statue of Liberty, named TC4, may collide with Earth and experts are worried as they have no way of knowing where in the world it will strike.
Astronomers estimate 2012 TC4 could be as large as 40m wide – just under the height of New York’s famous Statue of Liberty from her feet to the tip of the torch.
This is twice the size of the meteor that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, which injured 1,500 people and damaged more than 7,000 buildings.
The impact of the larger 2012 TC4 asteroid, predicted to near Earth on October 12 2017, could be even more devastating.
And, worryingly, experts cannot yet predict where in the world it will strike.
Dr Judit Györgyey-Ries, astronomer at the University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory, told space blog astrowatch.net: “We could see an airburst maybe broken windows, depending on where it hits.”
The giant asteroid was discovered on October 4, 2012 by a Hawaiian observatory and a week later narrowly missed Earth when it passed 94,800km away.
Detlef Koschny, head of the near-earth object segment at the European Space Agency, said: “There is a one in a million chance that it could hit us.
“The size was estimated from the brightness, but we don’t know the reflectivity. So it could be smaller or larger, assume from 10 to 40 metres.
“A 40m iron object would go through the atmosphere and make a crater; a 10m rocky object would hardly be noticed.”
NASA’s Asteroid Watch said there is no chance the asteroid will hit Earth, but Dr Györgyey-Ries said more observations are needed to mitigate the uncertainties.
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