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Whizzing Asteroid Turns Rocket Scientists’ Heads

October 27, 2012 Leave a comment

International leaders in asteroid and comet research are gathering at the University of Central Florida in Orlando Friday, Feb. 15, for a special “viewing party” that will climax with asteroid 2012 DA14 zipping between Earth and orbiting communication satellites (within 14,000 miles of Earth). The asteroid, the size of a city block, will squeeze by Earth’s atmosphere and the geostationary satellites orbiting the planet. It will be the closest fly by in history.

Experts say there is no chance the asteroid will hit Earth — this time. But with more than 4,700 asteroids NASA has identified as potential threats to Earth, some as big as 16 football fields, these objects are getting a lot of attention. Should an asteroid be detected on a collision course with Earth, it will be critical to know its composition and structure in order to deflect it. The impact of a small asteroid like DA 14 would equal the destructive power of an atomic bomb. A larger asteroid could be catastrophic.

Full Story: http://today.ucf.edu/whizzing-asteroid-turns-rocket-scientists-heads/