Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Space Rock: Near Earth asteroid heading our way!

Asteroid image courtesy of NASA
    The world is not going to end on Friday!
The asteroid, half the size of a football field will miss impact by 20,000 miles.
I'm safe. You are safe. And just like 65 million years ago, dinosaurs are safe.
Here are facts from Space.com and the science geeks at NASA.
(Click on the dark brown links for more detail)

This Friday (Feb. 15), asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly by Earth in  an unprecedented close approach. The event marks the closest-ever known approach by  such a large
 near-Earth asteroid, and gives scientists a rare chance to take a good look at a space
 rock as it whizzes  by Earth To prepare for the historic event, here are some frequently
 asked questions  about asteroid 2012 DA14, how it's monitored and what to
 expect during the flyby. 

And the folks from LiveScience add:  Friday's flyby is record-breaking; 
skywatchers have never before recorded an asteroid of this size passing so close to Earth. 
Unrecorded close calls are another story. 
In 1908, a hunk of space rock about 
150 feet  in diameter screamed into the atmosphere near the Tunguska 
River in Siberia. The asteroid or comet fragment the size of our White House broke
 up explosively in the atmosphere, leveling more than 800 square miles of forest. 
 [The 10 Greatest Explosions Ever]  Fortunately, the Tunguska Event happened in an 
extremely remote area, with the nearest human eyewitnesses miles away. 
But a rock like the one that caused the Tunguska Event, or like the one that will zip
 by Earth Friday, could level Washington D.C., and its suburbs, said Mark Boslough, 
a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, who has used computer
 modeling to recreate the Tunguska impact.

P.S. The dinosaurs forgot to duck 65 million years ago!

   Final word: Near Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 will have a very close pass near Earth on 
February 15, 2013. It will sweep by approximately 20,000 miles from Earth.
 That is closer than the moon’s orbit and closer than satellites. 
 It will not strike our planet. 
It may spawn a media frenzy!



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