Monthly Archives: January 2013

Asteroid 2012DA14 to Shoot through Near Earth Orbit

NASA has projected that on February 15, 2013, an asteroid about half the size of a football field will skim by Earth within near earth orbit.

nasa_2012DA14_projected_path

What:

asteroid

Designation:

2012DA14

Composition:

probably made of stone as opposed to ice or metal

Size:

about 148 feet (45 meters) long, “medium size,” about half the size of a football field

Weight:

roughly 143,000 tons

Speed:

traveling at a speed equal to twice the width of a full moon every minute

Size:

about half the size of a football field

When:

closes to Earth on Feb. 15

Where:

·         17,200 miles above our planet’s surface

·         through low earth orbit

·         closer than man-made satellites that power GPS

·         where the International Space Station and many earth observation satellites are located


“This is a record-setting close approach,” Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at JPL said in a video released by NASA this week.  “It will come interestingly close, closer than many man-made satellites. The odds of impact with a satellite are extremely remote.”

Don Yeomans is also the author of Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us. He compared the asteroid to the one that leveled hundreds of square miles of Siberian forest in the “Tunguska Event” in 1908. He noted that even if DA14 did strike the planet, the impact wouldn’t be cataclysmic, unless, of course, you happened to be near it. A similar sized object created a mile wide crater in Arizona. That one was made of iron, which made it an especially potent impactor and devastated the area 50 miles around the impact site.

“This is a record-setting close approach.” ~ Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at JPL

What would happen if 2012DA14 were not an asteroid, but a probe from another solar system? Of course,it isn’t, but this possibility is explored in my science fiction short story, A Taste of Earth (available free on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others).

For more information on 2012DA14 including a video, see the next blog: Asteroid 2012DA14 – Update.