Asteroid horror: NASA shock at freak color-shifting space rock as collision alert issued


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Asteroid 6478 Gault can change color from red to blue, leaving scientists baffled. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said in a release on Thursday: "It is the first time scientists have observed a color-shifting asteroid, in real time.

However, the change in color is not as dramatic as people may think.

Astronomers recently witnessed the asteroid’s movements in the near-infrared spectrum which is not visible to the human eye.

MIT post doctorate Michael Market called the shift in color “a very big surprise”.

He said: "We think we have witnessed the asteroid losing its reddish dust to space, and we are seeing the asteroid's underlying, fresh blue layers."

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Asteroid 6478 Gault can change colour from red to blue, leaving scientists baffled (Image: YOUTUBE @VideosFromSpace)

The asteroid is currently located between Mars and Jupiter.

Asteroid 6478 Gault was first discovered in 1988 and has since been on astronomers’ radars since then.

Observations from late last year and early this year showed the asteroid producing two dust tails which is rare for a space rock of this kind.

Researchers think the asteroid is spinning very quickly which is causing it to shed old surface dust to reveal fresh material below.

NASA said the dust trails could be evidence that “Gault is beginning to come apart.

The MIT-led research team published its findings in Astrophysical Journal Letters on Friday.

It comes as an expert revealed it is inevitable that a space rock will collide with Earth in the future.

Space group B612’s President Danica Remy claimed the risk to Earth from asteroids is very small in the short-term but inevitable in the long-term.

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Asteroid 6478 Gault was first discovered in 1988 (Image: YOUTUBE @VideoFromSpace)

Speaking to NBC she said she was 100 percent convinced of a future collision.

She said: “It’s 100 percent certain that we’re going to get hit, but we’re not 100 percent certain when.

However, Ms Remy claimed for the first time in human history there is now the technology to help solve the problem.

At the beginning of August, another asteroid the size of the Eifell Tower hurtled past Earth at a speed of 10,000mph.

Dubbed 2006 QQ23, the space rock missed the planet by 4.6million miles which is in the danger zone.

Another asteroid called Apophis is also believed to collide with Earth in 2068 at a speed of 15,000mph.

The initial collision is believed to take place in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean but will also impact parts of South America and Cuba.

The epicenter is close to the Bermuda Triangle which is famous for a number of ship and aircraft disappearances.

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One of the space rock fragments could also land in the Pacific Ocean.

The shockwaves and resulting ball of fire and destruction engulfs the whole of New Guinea, much of Borneo and parts of northern Australia.

However, NASA believes there is only one in 250,000 chance of Apophis colliding with Earth.

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