It was predicted the space rock named 2002 NT7 would approach Earth at speeds of 60,000mph.
Space officials estimations even gave a date for a possible impact, given a slim chance of hitting the planet on February 1.
2002 NT7’s doomsday impact prediction however, was quickly retracted – with NASA announcing it had taken another look at the risk impact and that it was no longer a danger.
NASA now says its likely 2002 NT7 will harmlessly pass Earth on January 13 – 37,910,000 miles away, even further away than Mars.
Conspiracy theorists however remain unconvinced, and instead have cried cover-up rather than accepting it was a simple recalculation.
“We can now rule out an impact possibility for February 1, 2019”
Dr Don Yeomans
2002 NT7 was the one of the first asteroids ever to be rated “impact risk positive” and its collision was estimated to be 28 times more likely than winning the lottery.
Four days of global frenzy about the asteroid follwed, but NASA suddenly announced there was nothing to worry about.
Scientists had done what scientists do, taken more data, and determined the rock was no longer a threat to Earth.
Despite this – interest has resurfaced in 2002 NT7 – with at least 75 videos on the topic uploaded to YouTube throughout 2018.
Numerous blogs and conspiracy websites have accused the world’s most renowned space agency of “changing its story” on the asteroid.
And all this is despite the asteroid not being considered a danger by NASA since August 1, 2002.
At the time, NASA expert Dr Don Yeomans categorically said: “We can now rule out an impact possibility for February 1, 2019.”
Other online posts have also responded to the flurry in activity regarding 2002 NT7 by debunking the repeated claims of danger.
Calculations about the potential impact of 2002 NT7 even gave it an exact time of impact 11.47am.
But even then odds for the impact were given at one in 75,000.
Scientists had given glib predictions about how such an impact would affect Earth however, warning of nuclear winter and humanity being on the edge of extinction.
NASA and other space agencies are constantly monitoring any interstellar threats, acutely aware the major risks posed by rogue space rocks.
NASA estimates a space rock of around the size of 2002 NT7 would have “worldwide effects” should it ever crash into Earth
And the space agency has been open about the threat of asteroid impacts, with the White House this year rolling out the National Near Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan.
The 18-page document – a joint publication NASA and the Federal Emergency Agency – lays out how the world will be prepared to consequences of an asteroid impact.
Conspiracy nuts however believe this may be too little too late should 2002 NT7 come smashing into earth just one month into the New Year.
YouTuber Justin Knight, who has 300,000 subscribers to his channel Dahboo77: Underground World News, raised questions about 2002 NT7.
The self-described truthseeker produced a feature on the asteroid that has been viewed more than 118,000 times – questioning the official story from NASA.
Space news and conspiracy blog website Space.news also questioned whether the asteroid had been covered up.
In an article, it described NASA’s change of statement as “suspicious” and questioned whether it was “sincere or devious”.
2002 NT7 will likely harmlessly whizz past Earth in 13 days time, and it is unlikely anyone will even notice.
The space rock will come round again in 41 years time, with another relatively close pass predicted for February, 2060.
NASA said they could not completely rule out a collision then, so it appears the armageddon has been postponed until at least then.
And we might be ready for it then, as NASA planetary defence officer Lindley Johnson laid out the agency’s new strategy.
“This plan is an outline not only to enhance the hunt for hazardous asteroids, but also to better predict their chances of being an impact threat well into the future and the potential effects that it could have on Earth,” he said.
The world is not going to end on February 1, 2019 – unless something really really really goes wrong in the next month.