No reason to worry about asteroids hitting Earth - for now

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Hubble Telescope
FILE PHOTO - In this April 25, 1990 photograph provided by NASA, most of the giant Hubble Space Telescope can be seen as it is suspended in space by Discovery's Remote Manipulator
ktrk-NASA via AP

Are you keeping a close watch of the skies above?

News of a potential asteroid colliding with Earth in the year 2185 has some earthlings taking a more than cursory look at the heavens these days.

Bennu, the asteroid is called, has a 1 in 16,000 chance of smacking right into our green planet as summer ends, sometime in September 2185.

The news has lit up message boards and forums across the web, but Lindley Johnson, NASA's Planetary Defense Officer, says there is no need to worry about Bennu. 2009 FD, however, is a different concern.

"There's been some misinformation out there about Bennu," Johnson says, "Certainly about the scope of the threat to Earth."

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Can you spot the English alphabet in these photos of Earth taken from space? NASA released the images, and they're pretty awesome.

Johnson says Bennu is not the most likely asteroid or near-Earth object that could impact Earth. The smaller rock, 2009 FD, is about 160 meters in size, but has a 1 in 714 chance of impacting Earth in late March of 2185, some six months before Bennu would have a chance.

While it is hard to say what will happen 169 years from now, the findings speak importance of not only remaining vigilant, but of monitoring orbits near these near-Earth objects over the decades or even centuries.

But for now, Earth dwellers can take a chill pill and start making those vacation plans for summer of 2185.

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The Super Bowl from space

You can check out the highly interesting work of Johnson and others at NASA on the Near Earth Object Program website.