Thursday, March 08, 2012
Asteroid 2012 Da14 to Pass by Earth in 2013

Asteroid 2012 Da14 to Pass by Earth in 2013

NASA researchers came out yesterday and explained that near earth asteroid 2012 DA14 will not impact Earth next year but will come pretty close.

Astronomers stated that the asteroid is approximately 150 feet across. The asteroids orbit will take the object on a very narrow path on Feb. 15, 2013. It is speculated that it will pass between the Earth and the satellites that are orbiting around earth.

Even though the asteroid is expected to come very close to Earth, closer than our satellites in space, 2012 DA14 does not pose any danger.

Even if the asteroid were to deviate from its current path, the size of the object leads scientists to believe that it would burn up should it enter Earth's atmosphere, according to NASA scientists.

"Its orbit about the sun can bring it no closer to the Earth's surface than 3.2 Earth radii on February 15, 2013," researchers with the Near-Earth Object Program Office, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement.

Scientists explained that one earth radius is about 3,963 miles when measured at the equator. With these calculations the closest that the asteroid will come to Earth next year is 12,680 miles.

This will put 2012 DA14 between satellites in geosynchronous orbit which travel around our planet at an altitude of about 22,245 miles.

Some satellites have a much lower orbital path and the International Space Station, for example, orbits the earth 240 miles above the surface.

2012 DA14 was discovered late last month by astronomers at the La Sagra Observatory in southern Spain. Scientists explained that its orbit around the sun is almost that same as Earth's orbit. They also stated that during its orbit that it crosses Earth's path twice.

Scientists also warn that there have been several asteroids that have impacted Earth throughout our planet's history.



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