NASA: Mid-Size Asteroid Won't Hit Earth In 2013 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NASA: Mid-Size Asteroid Won't Hit Earth In 2013

NASA Says An Asteroid Will Come 'Uncomfortably' Close To Earth (Photo: NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office) NASA Says An Asteroid Will Come 'Uncomfortably' Close To Earth (Photo: NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office)
MSNBC -

Despite feverish speculation from doomsayers, the near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 won't slam into our planet next year, NASA researchers say.

The asteroid, which astronomers estimate to be about 150 feet across, will give Earth an uncomfortably close shave on Feb. 15, 2013, coming nearer to our planet than the satellites we've lofted to geostationary orbit. But 2012 DA14 poses no real impact danger on that pass, according to NASA scientists.

"Its orbit about the sun can bring it no closer to the Earth's surface than 3.2 Earth radii on February 15, 2013," researchers with the Near-Earth Object Program Office, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., wrote in an update March. 6.

One Earth radius is roughly 3,963 miles at the equator. So by this reckoning, the nearest 2012 DA14 can get to us next year is 12,680 miles.

For comparison, satellites in geosynchronous orbit circle our planet at an altitude of 22,245 miles. Other satellites orbit much lower. The International Space Station, for example, flies at around 240 miles above the planet.

2012 DA14 was discovered late last month by astronomers at the La Sagra Observatory in southern Spain. Its path around the sun is roughly similar to that of Earth, and it makes relatively close approaches to our planet twice per orbit.

Calculations show that the space rock came within about 1.5 million miles this past Feb. 16, or about six times the distance from Earth to the moon.

Next February's much closer encounter has ignited something of a media firestorm, with various outlets publishing stories with headlines such as "Incoming! Asteroid 2012 DA14" and "Tunguska-Sized Asteroid Homing on Earth."

This latter article is referring to the 1908 "Tunguska event," in which a comet or meteoroid exploded above the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia, flattening about 500,000 acres of forest.

While 2012 DA14 won't slam into us next February, humanity needs to remain vigilant against the asteroid threat, many researchers say. Huge impacts are a part of our planet's history, after all; one wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, and it's just a matter of time before another big space rock lines Earth up in its sights, astronomers say. 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Station: Video shows nurses laughing as 89-year-old dies

    Station: Video shows nurses laughing as 89-year-old dies

    Sunday, November 19 2017 1:30 PM EST2017-11-19 18:30:54 GMT

    ATLANTA (AP) - Two nurses lost their licenses after a television station persuaded courts to unseal a video secretly recorded by the family of a man who died in their care.    The video shows the World War II veteran repeatedly calling for help, saying he can't breathe. It also shows the nurses failing to take life-saving measures, and laughing as they try to start an oxygen machine.

    >>

    ATLANTA (AP) - Two nurses lost their licenses after a television station persuaded courts to unseal a video secretly recorded by the family of a man who died in their care.    The video shows the World War II veteran repeatedly calling for help, saying he can't breathe. It also shows the nurses failing to take life-saving measures, and laughing as they try to start an oxygen machine.

    >>
  • DUI suspected in rollover crash near 395 and Monroe in Deer Park

    DUI suspected in rollover crash near 395 and Monroe in Deer Park

    Saturday, November 18 2017 8:13 PM EST2017-11-19 01:13:13 GMT

    DEER PARK, Wash. - Police were investigating a two-car rollover crash near Highway 395 and Monroe in Deer Park Saturday evening.  The crash happened around 4 p.m. Officers on scene say a gray pickup truck was T-boned by a white SUV near the intersection of Highway 395 and Monroe Road. The pickup truck rolled and landed on its top.

    >>

    DEER PARK, Wash. - Police were investigating a two-car rollover crash near Highway 395 and Monroe in Deer Park Saturday evening.  The crash happened around 4 p.m. Officers on scene say a gray pickup truck was T-boned by a white SUV near the intersection of Highway 395 and Monroe Road. The pickup truck rolled and landed on its top.

    >>
  • German man reunited with car 20 years after forgetting where he parked it

    German man reunited with car 20 years after forgetting where he parked it

    Saturday, November 18 2017 3:42 PM EST2017-11-18 20:42:47 GMT

    FRANKFURT, Germany - It's a situation we've all been in: You're doing a little pre-Black Friday shopping at River Park Square, leave with an armful of purchases and can't remember where you parked in the garage. But for one Frankfurt man, the situation was taken to the extreme, when he discovered his missing car 20 years after he parked it in an industrial building's garage.

    >>

    FRANKFURT, Germany - It's a situation we've all been in: You're doing a little pre-Black Friday shopping at River Park Square, leave with an armful of purchases and can't remember where you parked in the garage. But for one Frankfurt man, the situation was taken to the extreme, when he discovered his missing car 20 years after he parked it in an industrial building's garage.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/