Large asteroid is not set to collide with the Earth

26 January 2023
What was claimed

A huge asteroid is set to hit the Earth this week.

Our verdict

This is not true. NASA says the asteroid is small and that there is no danger of it hitting the Earth.

The headline of an article by online publisher Joe falsely claims that the Earth is set to be struck by a large asteroid later this week. 

Their tweet sharing this article, which was published on 24 January and, at the time of writing has been viewed more than 460,000 times, is captioned “Brace yourself”. It features an image of the Earth alongside a computer-generated image of a large asteroid heading towards the surface of the planet. 

The tweet links to an article with the headline “Huge asteroid is set to hit the Earth this week”. Preview text visible in the tweet reads: “An asteroid discovered by NASA is reportedly heading straight for Earth and is set to collide with the plant [sic] on January 27.”

This is not true. According to NASA, the asteroid, which is the size of a small lorry, is “predicted to make one of the closest approaches by a near-Earth object ever recorded” but will not strike the planet. 

NASA adds: “There is no risk of the asteroid impacting Earth. But even if it did, this small asteroid – estimated to be 11.5 to 28 feet (3.5 to 8.5 meters) across – would turn into a fireball and largely disintegrate harmlessly in the atmosphere, with some of the bigger debris potentially falling as small meteorites.”

Various other media outlets have correctly reported that the asteroid poses no danger. 

A separate tweet from NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, which tracks the movement of objects in space, adds: “A newly discovered asteroid, named 2023 BU, is expected to make one of the closet [sic] approaches by a near-Earth object ever recorded. Thanks to diligent teams of #planetarydefense experts, we know It poses zero risk to Earth.”

Although the headline and preview text contained in the Joe tweet are incorrect, the full story which it links to correctly points out that the asteroid will miss the Earth and poses no danger. 

We contacted Joe and will update this article if we hear back. 

Image courtesy of Averie Woodard

We deserve better than bad information.

After we published this fact check, we contacted Joe to request a correction regarding this claim.

Joe did not respond.

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