The threat of an asteroid impact that could wipe out humanity has long been a source of fear and anxiety. However, a new study published in the journal Nature Astronomy has found that the risk of such an impact is actually quite low for the next 1,000 years.
The study, led by Oscar Fuentes-Muñoz of the University of Colorado Boulder, used new methods to predict the paths of NASA's entire catalogue of dangerous near-Earth objects (NEOs) up to 1,000 years into the future. The results showed that the most dangerous NEO is a 0.8-mile asteroid that has a mere 0.00151% chance of passing closer than the orbit of the Moon within the next ten centuries.
The next most dangerous NEO is 1999 AN10. It is a 1.2-mile asteroid that is currently orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars. The study found that 1999 AN10 has a 0.00012% chance of impacting Earth within the next 1,000 years. This means that there is a 1 in 83,333 chance of an impact.