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NASA confirms if ‘lost’ asteroid will hit Earth in 2024

NASA confirms if ‘lost’ asteroid will hit Earth in 2024

There's been a lot of intrigue around this asteroid - so what do the experts have to say?

You might have seen some rather troubling reports flying round recently - that an asteroid could hit Earth as soon as this year.

The asteroid - which has the rather dry name 2007 FT3 - was first spotted in space in 2007, but then scientists lost it.

Yep, that actually happened - it became categorized as a 'lost asteroid', but reports then suggested there was a one in 11.5 million chance it would collide with Earth on October 5 this year.

Is an asteroid currently hurtling towards us?
Jonathan Knowles/Getty

So far, so terrifying - we don't particularly fancy our chances if an asteroid does collide with Earth.

But luckily - as so often happens - the truth is actually far more tame.

Before you start building a bomb shelter for asteroids, a NASA spokesperson told the Standard: “There are no known asteroid impact threats to Earth at any time in the next century. NASA and its partners diligently watch the skies to find, track, and categorize asteroids and near-Earth objects (NEOs), including those that may come close to Earth.

"An important note here is planetary scientists define asteroid approaches that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit as close approaches. The larger an asteroid is, the easier it is for our planetary defence experts to find, meaning that their orbits around the sun are usually very well-known and understood for years or even decades.”

This is good news, particularly as there is a whopping 1,308,871 asteroids out there, according to NASA.

'Asteroids, sometimes called minor planets, are rocky, airless remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago,' NASA says.

And many of them have far sexier names than 2007 FT3.

Psyche is a unique metal-rich asteroid.

One is called Psyche, which is described as 'one of the most intriguing objects in the main asteroid belt'. It's a metal-rich asteroid, discovered by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis in 1852.

It got its name from the Greek goddess of the soul, who was born mortal and married Eros (the Roman version of Cupid), the god of Love.

There's even another asteroid named Eros - famous as the first to be orbited by a spacecraft, and the first asteroid to have a spacecraft land on it.

Featured Image Credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Science Photo Library - ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI / Getty