Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Asteroid 2012 DA14 to break across earth's orbital plane

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A space rock the size of half the distance of a football field is closing in on earth and will make one of the closest flyby's of our planet in recent history.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass very close to earth on Friday, soaring to within 17,200 miles of the surface, as it speeds across our solar system.

"There is no chance of this object hitting the earth," notes chief astronomer David Dundee of the Tellus Science Museum near Atlanta. "If it were to hit the earth, it would flatten an area 750 miles in diameter."

NASA is calling this space encounter "a close shave".

Most of the communications and weather satellites are located in an orbit 22,236 miles above the planet. DA14 will pass much lower than that.

"This is a record setting close approach," states Donald Yeomans, a project manager at NASA's Near Earth Object Observation Program. "The odds of an impact with a satellite are extremely remote."

NASA adds that the International Space Station and it's crew of six will not be any danger as it orbits 250 miles above earth.

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