Determine the Date: On May 6, 2022, Earth could face its demise from a magnificent continent-leveling asteroid.
Yes, I know you're rolling your eyes – another day, another asteroid killer. You will probably think, "This is just a paranoid fake."
Well … it really is.
Let me introduce you to JF1. He's clumsy, dangerous, and you best believe he's coming.
NASA first discovered an asteroid in 2009. Over the past decade, the space agency's automated asteroid monitoring system has been tasked with monitoring this.
Defined as an "Near Earth Object" (NEO), which means that it is in the orbit of the Sun and is a "threat" to our planet.
A NASA spokesman explained:
Some asteroids and comets follow orbital paths that take them much closer to the sun and therefore to Earth than usual. If the comet or asteroid approach leads it to 1.3 astronomical units of the Sun, we call it an object near Earth.
An astronomical unit equals about 93 million miles, so it's not exactly close. It's scary how big it is – experts say the diameter of the JF1 is about 130 meters in diameter, adding that it can be about the same size of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
If JF1 lands, it will collide with a force of 230 kilotons of TNT. To put this in context, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 exploded at 15 kilotons of TNT.
The White House's 2018 Asteroid Impact Report explained:
Larger NEOs greater than 140 meters could cause severe damage to entire regions or continents. Such objects would strike the Earth with a minimum energy of more than 60 megatons of TNT, which is more than the most powerful nuclear device ever tested. Fortunately, they are much less common and easier to detect and track than smaller NEOs.
NASA added that Sentry "continually scans the most current catalog of asteroids for potential future impact on Earth over the next 100 years." Another asteroid is being recorded for impact in 2880 (not a mistake)
Don't worry too much. NASA bets the odds of JF1 actually hitting us at 0.026%, so it's more than 99% likely to fail. I doubt Paddy Power will let me put on a tenor.