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MOSCOW, April 25 (RIA Novosti) – A celestial body 20 meters in diameter will pass dangerously close to Earth’s surface in 13 years, according to new data published on Thursday.
The flyby of 2013 GM3 on April 14, 2026, may bring it within 15,000 kilometers of Earth’s center, or 8,620 kilometers from the planet’s surface, said Italian astronomer Francesco Manca of the Sormano Astronomical Observatory near Milan.
The latter figure is slightly more than one radius of the planet, and within the geostationary orbit of 35,700 kilometers.
The 2013 GM3 was discovered in mid-April by Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona, but earlier calculations by NASA showed it would pass 39,000 kilometers from Earth’s surface.
The asteroid may pass as far as 74,000 kilometers from Earth, Manca said in a message to the Minor Planet Mailing List.
More observations are needed to better determine the asteroid’s trajectory, the astronomer added.
NASA estimates the probability of 2013 GM3’s collision with Earth between 2028 and 2113 at 0.018%, or 1 in 5,560.
2013 GM3’s size is comparable to that of the meteorite that exploded in the air over the city of Chelyabinsk in the Urals in mid-February, injuring about 1,500 people, most of whom were injured by glass shattering as a result of the shockwave from the meteorite’s passing.
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