For a lot of people, known as the doomsayers, Asteroid 2012 DA14 presented the ultimate threat to life as we know it. Ever since researchers first identified it, these voices argued the asteroid will hit the Earth. However, NASA recently decided to end the discussion over the subject, informing that based on their calculations, Asteroid 2012 DA14 will not hit Earth in 2013.
The truth is that the Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass the Earth a little bit too close. According to NASA scientists, the rock will not crash into our planet, as it will pass it by 12,680 miles or 20,406 km. In space that distance is nothing, even if the asteroid in cause is estimated by astronomers to have about 150 feet across.
Astronomers with the La Sagra Observatory in Spain were the first to discover the rock and named it Asteroid 2012 DA14. As these researchers noticed, the asteroid is moving similarly to our Earth around the sun, a hint that helped them calculate its eventual trajectory. The Near-Earth Object Program Office with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California released yesterday the following update: “Its orbit about the sun can bring it no closer to the Earth’s surface than 3.2 Earth radii on February 15, 2013”.
To emphasize exactly how close this asteroid will pass the Earth, scientists pointed out that it will approach the planet even closer than our geostationary orbit satellites. These satellites orbit our planet at about 22,245 miles or 35,800 km. The asteroid will pass the Earth at a distance of 12,680 miles or 20,406 km.
The day the asteroid will pass by the Earth will be February 15, 2013. While NASA is trying to calm down a possible hysteria such events are bound to remind us we’re at the mercy of the space. Solar flares and asteroids coming Earth’s way are common events, and if recent history doesn’t bare cases of damages caused by them, that doesn’t mean the future won’t bring it.
Take for instance an asteroid called 2011 AG5, which raises concerns among scientists. Discovered last year, researchers still don’t have an exact data regarding its size, but it is considered to be roughly 140 meters across. In other words, it’s the size of a football stadium and will pass the Earth in February 2023.