Astronomers say they have discovered the largest planet killer-sized asteroid in eight years, and that the huge space rock will cross Earth’s orbit.
The asteroid, named 2022 AP7, was reported by researchers looking for space rocks within the orbits of Earth and Venus.
With a diameter of about 1.1km to 2.3km, the team say 2022 AP7 is the largest PHA discovered since 2014 and probably in the top 5% of the largest ever found.
“The Earth’s surface would likely cool significantly from sunlight not getting to the planet.
It would be a mass extinction event like hasn’t been seen on Earth in millions of years,” he said.
While the finding of 2022 AP7 may bring to mind visions of the asteroid Armageddon depicted in the film Don’t Look Up, the study also offers reassurance.
“It has no chance to hit the Earth, currently,” said Sheppard, noting that at present 2022 AP7 crosses the Earth’s orbit when the Earth is on the other side of the sun.