‘The date of Earth’s potential destruction has been set at 16 March 2880, when an asteroid hurtling through space has a possibility of striking our planet.
Researchers studying the rock found that its body rotates so quickly that it should break apart, but somehow remains intact on its Earth-bound trajectory.
They believe it is held together by cohesive forces known as van der Waals – and although this is considered a major breakthrough, scientists still don’t know how to stop it.
The discovery was made by researchers at the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville.
Previous research has shown that asteroids are loose piles of rubble held together by gravity and friction.
However, the UT team found that the asteroid, called 1950 DA, is spinning so quickly that it defies these forces.
It is approximately 3,280ft (1,000 metres) in diameter, but rotates once every two hours and six minutes.
At this rate, the rock should break apart and eventually disintegrate, but it is not showing any signs of doing so.’
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