Why Friday’s asteroid flyby is getting so much attention
Friday, around 2:30 PM, an asteroid half the size of a football field is set to buzz the Earth, coming much closer to us than the moon and even closer than some communication and weather satellites.
The asteroid, named 2012 DA14, was discovered last February by a Spanish team of astronomers. At the time of discovery, it was 2.7 million miles away. The flying boulder is about 150 feet across.
This is the first time they’ve spotted an object this large about to come so close, Mazanek said.
At its closest, asteroid 2012 DA14 will rocket past at 17,450 mph about 17,200 miles above Sumatra in the eastern Indian Ocean, NASA says. It won’t be visible to the naked eye.
By comparison, satellites in farthest geostationary orbit are about 22,000 miles overhead, while the International Space Station orbits at an altitude of 240 miles. Even at its closest, the moon is a relatively remote 239,000 miles from Earth.
NASA says about 4,700 other asteroids that are considered “Potentially hazardous asteroids,” or PHAs in NASA-speak, are space rocks in orbits that come within 5 million miles of Earth and are large enough to cause damage on regional or global scale if they were ever to hit our planet.
Scientists estimate an asteroid of this size flies this close every 40 years on average, and actually hits Earth about every 1,200 years.
One of the last asteroids believed to have impacted the earth was on June 30, 1908.
At around 7:14 AM, a large explosion occurred over Tungusta in Russia. It was felt over 1,000 miles away.
The place was so remote, it took nearly two decades for explorers to find it. Once there, they found 770 square miles of flattened trees, but no crater. The thinking is, the asteroid exploded before ever hitting the ground. The end result was atomic bomb type damage.
NASA says there’s nothing to worry about here. However, if their was, do you think we would ever find out about it?
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