9 Asteroid Attacks That Nearly Destroyed the Planet

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Comet Hyakutake

Now we are starting to get into civilization-threatening territory. At only 2 kilometers in diameter, this comet only got closer with 40 lunar distances to Earth in 1996. In comparison with other close calls, that’s actually very comfortable, but you should consider this: it was discovered less than two months before it got so close. Had it been on a collision course with our planet, we couldn’t do anything.

1999 AN10

In less than 20 years, our quiet Earth-Moon system will have a lot of visitors. In August 2027, AN 10 is gonna get one lunar distance from Earth, and we’ll actually have the chance to see how big this bad boy might get. Estimations usually range between 1/2 to 2 kilometers in diameter, which is pretty big to leave a dent in humanity if it will ever be this close.

2001 WN5

Only six months after AN10, WN5 will get even closer, just between the splitting difference between Earth and the Moon. At only 700 meters in diameter, this asteroid has the potential of causing major damage, but the current odds of impact are seen as completely negligible.

99942 Apophis

The most famous of the end-bringing objects we’re aware of in our solar system is 99942 Apophis. Astronomers calculated that this 270-meter-wide rock almost had a 3% chance of hitting us. Ever since then, the odds lowered to 1 in 43,000 that this asteroid might ever harm us in 2029.

However, it passes through a gravitational keyhole, a small region in space that might tweak its orbit even the slightest, an impact might actually happen in 2036.

2005 WY55

Only 200 meters wide, astronomers believe this asteroid might still pack a wallop. For the moment, it is scheduled to get within 75,000 km of Earth. However, impact odds are high enough to keep in mind, even if now they are rated at 1 in 70,000. If the numbers come up on that day in May 2065, make sure to look out, as blast yield is estimated to range to 1100 megatons.

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