Social Media Misinformation Regarding Asteroid Encounters

-- Hugh | January 4, 2021
Animation of asteroid 2004 BL86


Hello Dr. Mangum,

I hope you are doing well. Happy 2021 to you and your folks.

My name is Hugh Bakhurst. I have an anxiety disorder.

I apologize in advance for coming to you with this question. You may have received it before.

However, I’ve recently been losing some sleep after popular YouTuber, Matthew Santoro released this video:

At 2:46, he states that “NASA announced that a huge asteroid is predicted to hit the Earth in the next few years. An asteroid called 2009 KF1 has been predicted to hit the Earth on May 6th of this year, based on its current trajectory”.

His reference is this article:

Whilst I do not believe there is much credence to this, I still would appreciate some clarity from you, if you’d be so kind.

Again, forgive me for contacting you about this woe. I understand if you don’t respond to such hype. However, I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know if I do, in fact, have anything legit to worry about.

I hope you can get back to me soon.

Kind regards,
Hugh Bakhurst

-- Hugh


As seems to be the case for many things on social media, this particular statement appears to be incorrect.  If you consult NASA’s Center for Near Earth Studies listing of NEO Earth Close Approaches, you will find that there are no entries for an object “2009 KF1”.  There is an entry for “2009 JF1”, which passed within about 3/4 of the distance to the Moon in May of 2009, but will come no closer to the Earth than 20 times the distance to the Moon during its next closest approach in December of 2092.

The YouTube video and other online information web sites that you allude to are strictly for entertainment purposes and contain no factual information.

-- Jeff Mangum