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An asteroid which is named Asteroid 29075 1950 on NASA’s radar which they have been monitoring is believed to be one kilometre wide, and a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA).
The asteroid is currently listed on the Sentry Risk Table, which monitors future possible impacts, with the highest cumulative Palermo Rating.
NASA scientists calculated in 2002, a one in 300 (0.33 per cent) probability of an impact in the future, prompting experts to simulate the effects of a strike.
The day the asteroid is due to swing close enough to Earth that it could cause a problem is predicted to be 16 March 2880, and while the probability of a direct hit is small, asteroids this size and larger have struck the planet in its history, sometimes with catastrophic consequences.
Although it is predicted that if the asteroid crashes into the Earth, it is likely to splash down somewhere in the oceans as they cover 70 per cent of the planet's surface, and has shown waves as high as 400 feet that will form and will sweep onto the Atlantic Coast of the US.
Steven Ward, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physicists at the University of California, Santa Cruz (USCS), and Erik Asphaug, an associate professor of Earth sciences, reported their findings in the Geophysical Journal International.
Steven Ward, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physicists at the University of California, Santa Cruz (USCS), said in 2003: “From a geologic perspective, events like this have happened many times in the past. Asteroids the size of 1950 DA have probably struck the Earth about 600 times since the age of the dinosaurs.”
Dr Ward and Dr Erik Asphaug, an associate professor of Earth sciences, a study was conducted as part of a general effort to provide a rational assessment of asteroid impact hazards.
Dr Asphaug noted that asteroid risks are interesting because the probabilities are so small while the potential consequences are enormous.
Also, the laws of orbital mechanics make it possible for scientists to predict an impact if they are able to detect the asteroid in advance.
“It's like knowing the exact time when Mount Shasta will erupt. The way to deal with any natural hazard is to improve our knowledge base, so we can turn the kind of human fear that gets played on in the movies into something that we have a handle on," said Asphaug.
The researchers chose an impact site consistent with the orientation of the Earth at the time of the predicted encounter – in the Atlantic Ocean about 360 miles from the US coast.
Dr Ward continued to explain how the 60,000-megaton blast of the impact could vaporise the asteroid and blow a cavity in the ocean 11 miles across and all the way down to the seafloor blast also excavates some of the seafloors, it was claimed.
He explained that; ”In the movies, they show one big wave, but you actually end up with dozens of waves. The first ones to arrive are pretty small, and they gradually increase in height, arriving at intervals of 3 or 4 minutes.”
The study claimed that only two hours after impact 400-foot waves would reach beaches from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras, and by four hours after impact, the entire East Coast would experience waves at least 200 feet high and would take eight hours for the wave to reach Europe, where they would reach a height of about 30 to 50 feet.
Despite this, the space agency has reiterated more will be known after its next close approach on February 5, 2021.
The radar data suggests two possible directions for the space rock’s spin pole, where it shows if one pole is correct, solar radiation acceleration could significantly cancel thermal emission acceleration, meaning probability would then be close to the maximum 0.33 per cent and if the spin pole is instead near the other possible solution, there would be little chance of collision.
Not everything is taken out of the equation yet, as a force known as the Yarkovsky effect can also cause an asteroid to veer off-course.
NASA explained that “This radiation exerts a force on the asteroid, acting as a sort of mini-thruster that can slowly change the asteroid's direction over time.”

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