Trisha Shetty (Editor)

(143649) 2003 QQ47

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Discovered by  LINEAR (704)
Alternative names  none
Observation arc  4285 days (11.73 yr)
Discovered  24 August 2003
Argument of perihelion  104.999°
Discovery date  24 August 2003
Minor planet category  Apollo asteroid
Orbital period  413 days
Inclination  62.1021°
Asteroid group  Apollo asteroid
(143649) 2003 QQ47 thoth3126combrwpcontentuploads201402astero
Aphelion  1.28834 AU (192.733 Gm)
Discoverer  Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research
Similar  Solar System, (35396) 1997 XF11, (144898) 2004 VD17, (89959) 2002 NT7, (29075) 1950 DA

(143649) 2003 QQ47 (also written 2003 QQ47) is an asteroid which became briefly notable upon its discovery in late August 2003 when media outlets played up a very preliminary report that it had a 1 in 250,000 chance of impacting into Earth on March 21, 2014.


2003 QQ47 was discovered on 24 August 2003. 2003 QQ47 was added to the Sentry Risk Table on 30 August 2003. By 31 August 2003 (with an observation arc of 7 days) the odds of an impact on 21 March 2014 were already reduced to 1 in 1.7 million. 2003 QQ47 was removed from the Sentry Risk Table on 14 September 2003 so there is no risk of an impact by it in the next 100 years.

It is known that 2003 QQ47 will safely pass 0.1283 AU (19,190,000 km; 11,930,000 mi) from Earth on March 26, 2014. With an observation arc of 10 years and an orbital uncertainty of 0, its orbit and future close approaches are well determined.

Preliminary reports

On 3 September 2003 a NASA press release wrote,

"Newly discovered asteroid 2003 QQ47 has received considerable media attention over the last few days because it had a small chance of colliding with the Earth in the year 2014 and was rated a "1" on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale, which goes from 0 to 10. The odds of collision in 2014, as estimated by JPL's Sentry impact monitoring system, peaked at 1 chance in 250,000, a result which was posted on our Impact Risk Page on Saturday, August 30, 2003. Impact events at the Torino Scale 1 level certainly merit careful monitoring by astronomers, but these events do not warrant public concern. In fact, each year several newly discovered asteroids reach Torino Scale 1 for a brief period after discovery; 2003 QQ47 is the fourth such case this year. On September 2, 2003, new measurements of 2003 QQ47's position allowed us to narrow our prediction of its path in 2014, and thus we could rule out any Earth impact possibilities for 2014."

(143649) 2003 QQ47 has a diameter of approximately 1.24 km, and a mass of approximately 2.0×1012 kg. If it were to hit the Earth, it would be a major event, with an energy of approximately 350,000 megatons of TNT (1.5 ZJ), enough to cause global damage.

Dr. Sara Russell, a meteorite researcher at London's Natural History Museum, told the BBC on 2 September 2003 that she was not worried that (143649) 2003 QQ47 would be a danger.

"The odds are very, very low... We have to keep some kind of perspective," she said.

As a result of the press coverage of asteroids such as (143649) 2003 QQ47, astronomers are now planning to re-word the Torino scale, or to phase it out completely in favour of a scale which is less likely to generate false alarms which may reduce public confidence in genuine alerts.

In Fiction

The asteroid was mentioned in Anonymous Rex (Les Reptilians) (2004) as the asteroid which the dinosaurs were counting on to destroy human civilization.

The Korean drama, "My Love from the Star," also mentions it as the asteroid that will allow Do Min-joon to travel back to his home planet.


(143649) 2003 QQ47 Wikipedia

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