London: A massive asteroid might crash into Earth in 2182, scientists have warned.
The asteroid, called 1999 RQ36, has a one-in-thousand chance of actually hitting the Earth at some point before the year 2200, but is most likely to hit on September 24, 2182.
The asteroid was first discovered in the year 1999 and is more than 1,800 feet across. If an asteroid of this size hits the Earth it would cause widespread devastation and possible mass extinction, reports the Daily Mail.
Scientists say that any attempt to try and divert the asteroid will have to take place at least 100 years before it is due to hit to have any chance of success.
If the asteroid had not been spotted until after 2080 it would have been impossible to divert it from its target, the scientists warned in a new research paper.
While the odds may seem long, they are far shorter than that of the asteroid Apophis, which currently has a one in 250,000 chance of striking the Earth in 2036.
A competition was launched in 2008 by the Planetary Society for designs for a space probe to land on Apophis and monitor its progress.
Maria Eugenia Sansaturio and scientists from the Universidad de Valladolid in Spain have used mathematical models to calculate the risk of the asteroid hitting the Earth anytime between now and the year 2200.
The impact from the asteroid that created the famous Chicxulub crater in Mexico would have caused ‘mega-tsunamis’ many thousands of feet high.
It is believed that this asteroid led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Scientists around the world have long been discussing ways of deflecting potentially hazardous asteroids to prevent them from hitting the Earth.
One of the more popular methods is to detonate a nuclear warhead on an approaching asteroid to deflect it from its orbital path.
Last month, physicist David Dearborn of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in the US argued that nuclear weapons could be the best strategy for avoiding an asteroid impact – especially for large asteroids and with little warning time.