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starship-design: Am I missing something?

The following quote was taken from the article, >>"Richter Scale" of
Asteroid Impact Threats Announced<<  released on Spaceviews, here:

"Some asteroids, such as 1999 AN10, at one time measured a 1 on the
[Torino] scale, meaning that they had about an equal probability of
striking Earth as a random, undiscovered object of similar size."

Now, I've got to wonder: if an object is "undiscovered," how we can know
anything about its size, or its probability of striking Earth? I feel
it's important to clarify this, because it would seem to suggest that
our asteroid experts are postulating  the likelihoods of specific
events, with NO real-world information to base their judgments on. This
can't be true, can it?

If any of you folks know anything about how these people do their work,
I'd enjoy a little bit of enlightenment about it, as I'm sure a lot of
us would.

Keep looking up,