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The 'faintest asteroid ever detected' won't hit Earth, months of observations show
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An asteroid slot discovered in August 2021 seemed on a collision course with Earth, but an extensive observation campaign that involved one of the world's most powerful telescopes eventually ruled out the space rock as a risk. The asteroid,
dubbed 2021 QM1, gave astronomers quite a headache. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), it was at one point "the riskiest asteroid known to humankind," as it appeared bound to slam into our planet in April 2052 even after multiple observations and recalculations of its orbit.
It took the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile, one of the most powerful optical telescopes in the world, to eventually rule out the collision. The telescope had to track the 160-feet-wide (50 meters) space rock as it moved so far away from Earth that it eventually became "the faintest asteroid ever observed," according to ESA.