There is a lot of news this week about the 150 foot asteroid that is passing very close to the earth this Friday. The scientists say this asteroid will not hit the earth but it will be passing approximately 17,200 miles from Earth.
This is the closest pass on record of an asteroid of this size. The primary concern at this point are the 100 telecommunications and weather satellites which are in fixed orbits around the earth. The asteroid may pass through a portion of this geosynchronous field and though the chances are slim, as hit could disrupt communications around the earth.
On a side note, a 150 foot wide asteroid is not a planet killer but scientists believe an asteroid of this size exploded over Tunguska in 1908 that generated a blast 1000 times more powerful then Hiroshima and flattened an area over 830 square miles.
OK, no doomsday scenario but a heads up if your loose communications on Friday. Have a great week!
Update February 14th 2PM
PASADENA, Calif. — NASA Television will provide commentary starting at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) on Friday, Feb. 15, during the close, but safe, flyby of a small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. NASA places a high priority on tracking asteroids and protecting our home planet from them. This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close.
The half-hour broadcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting.
At the time of its closest approach to Earth at approximately 11:25 a.m. PST (2:25 p.m. EST / 19:25 UTC), the asteroid will be about 17,150 miles (27,600 kilometers) above Earth’s surface.
In addition to the commentary, near real-time imagery of the asteroid’s flyby before and after closest approach, made available to NASA by astronomers in Australia and Europe, weather permitting, will be streamed beginning at about 9 a.m. PST (noon EST) and continuing through the afternoon at the following website: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2
A Ustream feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will be streamed for three hours starting at 6 p.m. PST (8 p.m. CST / 9 p.m. EST). To view the feed and ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter, visit: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc
The NASA Near Earth Objects (NEO) Program at the agency’s headquarters in Washington manages and funds the search, study and monitoring of NEOs, or asteroids and comets, whose orbits periodically bring them close to the Earth. NASA’s study of NEOs provides important clues to understanding the origin of our solar system. The objects also are a repository of natural resources and could become waystations for future exploration. In collaboration with other external organizations, one of the program’s key goals is to search and hopefully mitigate potential NEO impacts on Earth. JPL conducts the NEO program’s technical and scientific activities.
For more information, including graphics and animations showing the flyby of 2012 DA14, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/asteroidflyby
For more information about asteroids and near-Earth objects, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch