ShutterstockBack in February, NASA announced that an asteroid was going to shoot across the sky on March 5 — and that it'd come close enough to actually see through a backyard telescope.
However, the space agency just revised its calculations. It now expects the rogue space rock to swing by a few days later on March 8 and, to the disappointment of avid skywatchers, it probably won't come close enough to see.
More importantly: No, it's not going to hit us, but there's a chance it could come tantalizingly close to faking us out.
The rock in question is asteroid 2013 TX68, which swooped within 1.3 million miles of our home planet two years ago. It's coming back again in its orbit around the sun, and this time it might come much, much closer to Earth.
How close? That's hard to say, since astronomers had a limited time to track the rock after its discovery in October 2013.
Previous calculations suggested it would swing as close as 11,000 miles from Earth or as far as 9 million miles away. But more recent number-crunching suggests it will likely pass within about 3 million miles of Earth.
NASA says "there is no possibility" it will impact Earth this time, though there's a slim chance it could come within 15,000 miles from our planet — 16 times closer than the moon is to the earth, and 50% closer than many communications satellites.
But again, the odds are stacked against the closer pass.
"Prospects for observing this asteroid, which were not very good to begin with, are now even worse because the asteroid is likely to be farther away, and therefore dimmer than previously believed," Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies said in a press release.
Here is the asteroid's updated trajectory:
Asteroid 2013 TX68 measures about 100 feet in diameter, or roughly the size of an airplane, and it's slated to pay us another visit next year on September 28, 2017.
NASA previously said that there is a small chance that it could hit us at that time (about 1 in 250 million — the same odds of being killed by a falling coconut). Yet their new calculations say that it "cannot impact Earth" in the next 100 years.
One more thing: Though this asteroid no longer seems to pose a threat to humanity, there are many nefarious objects lurking out there that could level a city or worse. And, as of right now, we have little chance of detecting a smaller yet dangerous near-earth object (NEO) until it's too late.
If you're curious about the stats on all of the NEO flybys we do know about, check out NASA's Near Earth Object Program page here.