The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, also known as Pan-STARRS or even more pithily, PS1, is a 1.4 gigapixel telescopic camera stationed at Mount Haleakala in Hawaii, specially designed to alert us Earthlings to any space objects which might pose a threat to our existence. After only three months in action, PS1 has found one.
The 150 feet across asteroid designated 2010 ST3 will pass within 9 million miles of Earth in October and has a slight chance of colliding with our home planet in 2098. A collision with an asteroid of this size would create an impact as powerful as a 20 megaton bomb, 1,000 times stronger than the bombing of Hiroshima. The actual chance of 2010 ST3 hitting Earth is very slight, so don’t start building a shelter for your grandkids just yet.