A Russian astrophysicist has discovered a large asteroid that could potentially be on course to collide with Earth, Russian space agency Roscosmos announced on its website Sunday.
The asteroid, dubbed UR116, was discovered by Moscow State University professor Vladimir Lipunov. With a diameter of about 370 meters, the space rock is slightly larger than the Apophis asteroid, which scientists previously feared would crash into Earth in 2029 or 2036. Last year NASA ruled out the possibility of an impact by Apophis.
Lipunov's UR116 could cause an explosion 8,000 times more powerful than that caused by the meteorite that exploded over Russia's Chelyabinsk region in February 2013. Lipunov said the newly discovered asteroid is expected to cross into Earth's orbit within three years' time.
According to Roscosmos, Russia has developed radio telescopes that can detect potentially dangerous asteroids as they approach Earth.