A recently rediscovered 400-meter asteroid is predicted to pass near Earth on April 13, 2029, meriting the highest rating yet for a hazardous near-Earth object.


For comparison, the Barringer Meteor Crater in northern Arizona is thought to have been created by an iron meteorite between 30 and 100 meters in diameter. Its impact would have released energy equivalent to about 3.5 million tons of TNT.



According to NASA’s Near Earth Object Program, the flyby distance is uncertain and an Earth impact cannot yet be ruled out. While the agency says the odds of impact, at about one in 300, are unusual enough to merit special attention, it also says that the asteroid shouldn’t be of public concern and the odds will probably change when new data are received. The odds of impact could eventually be eliminated.



The asteroid, 2004 MN4, is the first to reach a level 2 (out of 10) on the Torino Scale. This level indicates “a discovery, which may become routine with expanded searches, of an object making a somewhat close but not highly unusual pass near the Earth. While meriting attention by astronomers, there is no cause for public attention or public concern as an actual collision is very unlikely. New telescopic observations very likely will lead to reassignment to Level 0 [no hazard].”



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