04 March
2012

This is not so good, but not too worrisome either. On Feb. 15, 2013, just under a year from now, a significant earth-grazing asteroid will come very close to Earth and has a small but non-negligible chance of hitting the earth and doing serious damage. While such an event could theoretically be averted using appropriate technology that could be build today, mankind has not build it and thus nothing can be done at this late date.

The culprit is a 35 - 80m wide asteroid labelled 2012 DA14 and it will make a near pass (27 thousand km or 0.00018 AU), with possible earth collision, travelling at 8.13 km/second on the 15th February, 2013 @ 19:26 UT. This distance is roughly a mere 4 times the earth's radius, and could result it a hit. For comparison, the distance between the Earth and Moon is 384K km or 0.0026 AU.

SInce the asteroid was discovered just 8 days ago (late Feb .2012) the accuracy of the estimate is not that high.

The asteroid is not big enough to be a planet killer though, and chances are nothing will happen at all, but it could make one heck of a big hole if it hit. On the Torino and Palero scales for this kind of risk, it;s not rated as at all scary. Palermo Scale values between -2 and 0 indicate situations that merit careful monitoring, and this one is a -4 on this logarithmic scale.

This link to the JPL LEO page gives the most accurate details and is updated as data is acquired.


By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
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