TECH

Russian Scientist Discovers Mountain-Sized Asteroid Heading Towards Earth

09/12/2014 10:01 GMT | Updated 10/12/2014 14:59 GMT

A Russian astrophysicist has confirmed that his team have discovered a giant mountain-sized asteroid which crosses paths with the Earth every three years.

Vladimir Lipunov, a professor at Moscow State University revealed the asteroid's existence in a short documentary posted on the Russian Space Agency's website.

Despite experts suggesting that the asteroid, called 2014 UR116, poses no immediate threat professor Lipunov warns that the fact it has only just been discovered is warning enough that more should be done to track asteroids.

asteroid

While 2014 UR116 only technically crosses Earth's orbit every three years, the risk is that during each orbit the asteroid's trajectory is changed through the gravitational pull of the planets it passes.

"We need to permanently track this asteroid, because even a small mistake in calculations could have serious consequences,"

Natan Esmant, an expert at the Space Research Institute in Moscow warns that unless significant steps are taken to track both these long-range objects and the 10,000 or so 'near Earth' objects, events like the Chelyabinsk meteor are still going to creep up on us.

Prominent scientists from around the world declared earlier this month that 30 June would be Asteroid Day in an attempt to significantly increase our awareness of the dangers that face us by asteroids.