NASA debunks asteroid strike rumors

Phew! NASA says that there is no credible asteroid threat to Earth in the foreseeable future(Credit: NASA)

It turns out there's no need to worry about an asteroid impact interrupting your plans next month. Responding to recent rumors that an asteroid will crash near the island of Puerto Rico between September 15 and 28, NASA has issued a statement categorically stating that this will not happen.

"There is no scientific basis – not one shred of evidence – that an asteroid or any other celestial object will impact Earth on those dates," says Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The Near-Earth Object Observations Program (AKA Spaceguard), which consists of the space agency and astronomers and scientists around the world, catalogues and tracks all asteroids and comets that pass within 30 million mi (48 million km) of Earth. Based on space and ground telescopic observations, NASA says that none to date have posed a credible impact threat with a greater than 1 in 10,000 chance over the next century.

This is not the first time that rumors of an impending strike have circulated. In 2011, the "doomsday" comet Elenin was supposed to hit, followed by a large asteroid impact in 2012, which was supposedly predicted by the Mayan calendar. This year, there were also rumors of asteroids 2004 BL86 and 2014 YB35 colliding with Earth in January and March respectively.

"Again, there is no existing evidence that an asteroid or any other celestial object is on a trajectory that will impact Earth," says Chodas. "In fact, not a single one of the known objects has any credible chance of hitting our planet over the next century."

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