NASA has identified a potentially hazardous asteroid that's capable of causing 164 possible impact events on Earth within the next century. The asteroid was detected by the space agency's collision monitoring system.
The dangerous asteroid has been identified by NASA as 2007 FT3. It is currently in the Impact Risk Data of NASA's Sentry, which is the agency's fully automated monitoring system that catalogs asteroids with non-zero impact probabilities with Earth.
According to the data collected by NASA, 2007 FT3 has an estimated diameter of 340 meters, which makes it bigger than the Eiffel Tower in France. It is moving at an average speed of about 61,416 kilometers per hour. If it ends up hitting Earth, it could enter Earth's atmosphere with a velocity of over 73,000 kilometers per hour.
As indicated in the Sentry database, the asteroid could cause a total of 164 potential impacts on Earth between 2024 and 2116. 2007 FT3's next upcoming approach to Earth is expected to take place on Oct. 2, 2024.
The approaching asteroid's potential impacts can be influenced by various factors in space such as gravitational keyholes. These are specific areas in space that are heavily affected by the gravitational pull of a nearby planet. If 2007 FT3's passes through a gravitational keyhole, its trajectory could change. This means the asteroid might end up colliding with Earth.
Another important factor that could cause the asteroid to hit Earth is its natural orbit. According to NASA, 2007 FT3 has been classified as an Apollo asteroid. Like other asteroids that belong to this classification, 2007 FT3 has a very wide orbit that covers both the Earth and the Sun.
From time to time, the asteroid's orbit intersects with that of Earth as it completes its cycle around the giant star. It is possible that Earth and 2007 FT3 could hit each other at these intersection points.
Given the asteroid's immense size and current velocity, it can certainly cause a lot of damage if it crashes on Earth. If an impact event happens, the asteroid will most likely create a crater that's several kilometers wide and release energy that's equivalent to hundreds of atomic bombs.
Although 2007 FT3 is certainly not big enough to destroy the planet and trigger mass extinctions, it is still capable of wiping out entire cities.