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Giant asteriod buzzes Earth

WASHINGTON — One of the most dangerous asteroids on record zipped close by Earth last month.

It made headlines on Thursday, when reports said that there’s a chance it could strike our planet in less than 20 years. Such a collision could unleash a force as powerful as a couple of thousand atomic bombs.

But NASA was quick to calm nerves and point out some very good news. The most dangerous known asteroids don’t really pose much of a threat. And there are very few of them.

Also, the chances that this one, which the Ukrainian astronomers who discovered it named 2013 TV135, will collide with Earth are extremely slim, NASA said in a statement it called “a reality check.”

AsteroidThe space agency is 99.998% certain that when it whooshes back around the planet in 2032, it will simply sail past us again.

The probability of it striking Earth currently stands at 1:63,000, and even those odds are fading fast, as scientists find out more about the asteroid.

“This is a relatively new discovery,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s NEO Program. “With more observations, I fully expect we will be able to significantly reduce, or rule out entirely, any impact probability for the foreseeable future.”

2013 TV135 was discovered on October 8, while NASA was closed during the government shutdown. And already it looks to soon be joining the ranks of the more than 10,000 known near-Earth objects that are virtually certain to cause us no harm.

But until then, it has the distinction of having a danger rating of 1 out of a possible 10 on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale, the system that gauges the danger of impact destruction by asteroids.

For more on this CNN story, click here.

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