'Potentially hazardous' asteroid discovered
Astronomers don't believe that there is any danger of a collision. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The object is the first to be discovered by NASA's WISE ( Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer ) spacecraft since it was reactivated last year for a new three-year mission to detect signs of dangerous asteroids.
Dubbed "2013 YP139", the new threat has a diameter of approximately 0.4 miles, enough to cause widespread global devastation in the event of an impact. Fortunately astronomers do not believe it will hit us, but it will pass by quite close at a distance similar to that of the moon.
"We are delighted to get back to finding and characterising asteroids and comets, especially those that come into Earth’s neighborhood," said JPL's Amy Mainzer. "With our infrared sensors that detect heat, we can learn about their sizes and reflectiveness."