Tracked asteroid 2012 DA 14 whizzes past Earth
Posted by Xeno on February 16, 2013
The asteroid, dubbed 2012 DA 14, passed around 27,000 kilometres above the Earth at the time of closest approach, about 6.25am today (AEDT), NASA said.
The US space agency had said in a statement on its website that this was “the closest-ever predicted approach to Earth for an object this large.”…
On Friday, when asteroid 2012 DA14 approaches within 17,200 miles of Earth, it will be over Sumatra, Indonesia at its closest point while zipping by the planet. That’s just one-thirteenth the average distance from Earth to the moon.
At its closest approach on Friday at 2:24 p.m. EST (1924 GMT), the asteroid will be 5,000 miles closer to Earth than the ring of GPS, weather and communications satellites in orbit around the planet. Still, the satellites and the planet are safe from impact, researchers say.
5Asteroids like 2012 DA14 fly by Earth every 40 years
Based on a statistical analysis, NASA researchers have found that asteroids like 2012 DA14 only graze Earth this closely once every 40 years or so. Similar asteroids can actually hit the Earth once every 1,200 years.
Larger asteroids are even less likely to give the planet such a close shave. NASA researchers say that their Near Earth Object Program has helped to detect and track 90 percent of the largest near-Earth asteroids, and so far none of these behemoths are known to pose an impact threat in the foreseeable future.