Is Asteroid 2002 AJ129 Really as Hazardous as We Think It Is?

Caroline Aguilar, Writer

We heard of the world ending in 2012, that didn’t happen. Asteroid 2012 TC4 was supposed to crash through Earth last year, that didn’t happen. What about asteroid 2002 AJ129? Will that happen?

“We have been tracking this asteroid for over 14 years and know its orbit very accurately,” manager of NASA’s Centers for Near-Earth Object Studies Paul Chodas said. ”Our calculations indicate that asteroid 2002 AJ129 has no chance – zero – of colliding with Earth on February 4 or any time over the next 100 years.”

Although the asteroid is considered a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid, or PHA, it won’t be an actual threat to us. According to NASA, potentially hazardous doesn’t even mean a huge rock storming through Earth and exploding. What it really means, is that the asteroid considered hazardous is being watched, to make sure we’re safe, and so we can be kept updated.

“It’s something that in the distant future could possibly impact the Earth, but doesn’t necessarily mean something about what’s happening today,” Matthew Holman, director of the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center (IAUMPC) said in an interview with Gizmodo.

 From 1994 to 2013, 526 asteroids have hit earth, 301 nighttime impacts, and 225 daytime impacts. These asteroids can measure from three to sixty feet in size: nothing big enough to destroy Earth.

“About once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth’s atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface,” the NASA Content Administrator said on a Mission page about Asteroid Fast Facts. “Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area.”

So should we worry about 2002 AJ129?