For the first time, astronomers from South Korea were able to detect a potentially hazardous asteroid. According to the astronomers, the newly discovered asteroid has a chance of hitting Earth within the next 50 years.

The approaching asteroid, dubbed as 2019 PP29 was discovered earlier this month using the data collected by the Korea Microlensing Telescope Network (KMTNet). Initial estimates revealed that the asteroid has a diameter of 525 feet, according to the Korea Herald.

According to the data collected by various space institutes, 2019 PP29 orbits the Sun every 5.7 years. During its orbit, if oftentimes gets close to Earth. Its closest distance to Earth was at 2.6 million miles away.

Due to gravitational forces in space, astronomers believe that 2019 PP29’s trajectory course could change in the future and bring it on a direct collision course with Earth. This could happen due to gravitational keyholes, which are specific regions in space that are affected by the gravitation pull of large objects such as planets.

If an asteroid passes through a keyhole, the pull of a nearby planet can significantly alter its course. Eventually, the changes in its direction could bring the asteroid on a direct collision course with a planet.

The astronomers predicted that 2019 PP29 could hit Earth sometime in 2063 or 2069.

Fortunately, the asteroid has a low chance of hitting Earth. Data showed that the probability of 2019 PP29 causing an impact event on Earth is at 2.8 billion to one.

The discovery of 2019 PP29 is being lauded by South Korean astronomers as a huge step for the country’s scientific institutes. It shows that aside from major agencies such as NASA and the European Space Agency, South Korean agencies are also capable of detecting potentially hazardous asteroids.

“The discovery is important because most [potentially hazardous asteroid] detections have been made by the United States and shows the potential of South Korea to play a greater role in space monitoring,” Moon Hong-Kyu of the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute said in a statement.

Aside from 2019 PP29, South Korea’s astronomers also detected another near-Earth object called 2018 PM28.

Pictured; an artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth. NASA