Asteroid Will Buzz Earth Next Friday
A 150-foot-wide asteroid will pass within 17,000 miles of Earth next Friday. According to NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, the asteroid has no chance of actually colliding with Earth.
The flyby will provide scientists with an unprecedented opportunity to study the object. A known object of its size has never passed so close. The asteroid is passing so close to Earth that it will pass inside the ring of geosynchronous weather and communications satellites, about one tenth the distance from the Earth to the Moon.
Asteroid 2012 DA14 should pass over the Eastern Indian Ocean, near Sumatra, on Feb. 15 at approximately 2:24 PM EST. the object is estimated to have a mass of about 130,000 metric tons and was first observed in Feb. 2012. Unfortunately, it will not be visible to the naked eye.
NASA has made it clear that 2012 DA13 will not impact Earth. However, it an asteroid its size crash into Earth, it would cause mass devastation, releasing 2.5 megatons of energy into the atmosphere. The last recorded instance of an asteroid close to that size colliding with Earth occurred in 1908, when an asteroid with a diameter of 100-130 feet crashed in Tuguska, SIberia, where it flattened about 750 square miles of forest.
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