Oh yeah. Going to need a deeper hole to climb into cause the sky is falling.
An asteroid slightly bigger tthan a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will will zoom by Earth inside the orbit of the moon Tuesday, Nov. 8, but it poses no danger of smashing into our planet, scientists say.
The asteroid 2005 YU55, which is about 1,300 feet (400 meters) across, will make its closest approach to Earth at 6:28 p.m. EST (2328 GMT) today. At that point, the space rock will be traveling at about 29,000 mph and be about 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers) from Earth — closer than the moon, which orbits 238,864 miles (384,499 km) from us on average.
The flyby will mark the closest such a big space rock has come to Earth since 1976. But there’s no need to scurry down to the basement bunker to await an asteroid impact, researchers say.
“2005 YU55 cannot hit Earth, at least over the interval that we can compute the motion reliably, which extends for several hundred years,” research scientist Lance Benner, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., said in a recent NASA video.
Studying the space rock
Researchers are excited about 2005 YU55’s close approach, because it gives them a chance to study the space rock as never before. The asteroid was discovered in 2005 by astronomer Robert McMillan of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
“When you look through a telescope, asteroids don’t look any different from stars,” McMillan said in a statement. “The only difference is that they’re moving, and to detect that motion we have to take a series of images. Usually we take three images spaced 20 or 30 minutes apart.” [Photos: Asteroid 2005 YU55 Flyby of Earth]
Radar images of the asteroid were taken when it made a previous flyby of Earth in April 2010 (it makes one trip around the sun every 15 months), but this approach will be much closer, so the views will be much better.
- City-Block-Size Asteroid 2005 YU55 to Buzz Earth Today – Fox News (foxnews.com)
- City-Block-Size Asteroid 2005 YU55 to Buzz by Earth Today (livescience.com)
- Astronomers expect close call on asteroid flyby (cbsnews.com)
- Big Asteroid Approaching Earth Spotted by NASA Radar (space.com)
- Big asteroid to make near-Earth flyby Tuesday evening (cbc.ca)