NASA warns of ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid: 2013 YP139

Saturday, January 11, 2014
By Paul Martin
January 11th, 2014

A new, “potentially hazardous” asteroid has been discovered by one of NASA’s recently reactivated spacecraft – and it’s headed in Earth’s direction.

The new asteroid, called 2013 YP139, was spotted by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE), and marks the spacecraft’s first discovery since being resurrected last year.

According to the Telegraph, the asteroid is still 27 million miles (43 million km) away from Earth, but with a diameter of nearly half a mile (0.4 miles, to be precise), an impact with our planet would cause significant damage.

NASA estimates any asteroid with a diameter greater than 0.5 miles could create worldwide consequences upon impact.

The 2013 YP139 doesn’t quite raise concern to that level, but its trajectory has attracted the attention of NASA.

Just months after being reactivated, NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) space telescope has spotted a new, “potentially hazardous” asteroid, dubbed 2013 YP139.

NEOWISE, which was put into hibernation in 2011 and came back on line in September, used infrared imaging to spot the coal-black space rock, Discovery reported.

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