us say an [asteroid] would have been discovered...after discovery, we
would not know for quite some time (perhaps weeks, months or years)
whether or not the object would actually hit the Earth. In
fact, the impact probability might go up to 50% before plunging to 0%
[or vice versa].
- Geoffrey Sommer, RAND - SpaceDaily.com 2/17/03
gravitational influence of the giant gas planets, like Jupiter, or an
impact by a comet, can knock these large rocks out of their
- About.com 9/2/03
largest asteroid ever known...Toutatis's orbit changes slightly with
each 4-year trip around the sun. 'Because of the nature of the orbit,
we cannot predict thousands of years into the future for this object,'
said Alan Harris, a senior research scientist at the Space Science
Institute…some rumors have suggested the asteroid's forecasted course
might be off by enough to cause a collision with Earth…'The
actual path of it has indeed varied a bit from the original calculated,'
- Space.com 9/28/04
change with time because of gravitational tugs by the Sun and
planets, among other factors...the 323-day orbit of asteroid 2004 MN4
lies mostly within the orbit of Earth. Scientists cannot say
that the asteroid will never hit Earth."
- Space.com 12/27/04
object is on a collision course with Earth, due to hit in say a half a
century or a century...we won't really know that until we get
within perhaps a decade of the collision."
- Steve Ostro, Radio Astronomer, NASA JPL -
Science of the Impossible – TLC 7/12/98
OTHER WORDS, THE ABILITY OF SCIENTISTS TO PREDICT THE PATH OF ANY SPACE
ROCK IS EXTREMELY LIMITED. COMETS AND ASTEROIDS ALTER THEIR PATHS AT
RANDOM IN RESPONSE TO MANY FORCES IN SPACE.