On Thursday, March 12, 1998, the front page of the New York Times announced that an "Asteroid is Expected to Make A Pass Close to Earth in 2028". The asteroid was estimated to be as large as one mile in diameter, would be travelling at 20 kilometers per second (45,000 mph) as it approached, and was expected to pass within 30,000 miles of earth, which is within one earth diameter of a geostationary orbit. After acknowledging the "possibility that it would hit Earth", reporter Malcolme W. Browne offered these words of reassurance:
Dr. Brian G. Marsden, director of the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Mass., cautioned in an interview that calculations of the asteroid's progress are approximate and that there is no immediate cause for alarm....
The impact of an asteroid one mile in diameter would have devastating global effects, including tidal waves, continent-size fires and an eruption of dust that could cause global cooling and long-term disruption of agriculture. But Dr Marsden said such an asteroid impact would not necessarily be severe enough to wipe out the human race.
Last updated 24 May 2008.