Whizzing asteroid turns rocket scientists' heads

Oct 28, 2012

(Phys.org)—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. To see animation click here .

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.

Humberto Campins, a UCF physics professor who led the first team to discover on an asteroid in 2010, says the asteroids provide clues to the early formation of the solar system and should interest the entire community because they can be hazards as well as resources.

Campins is working on NASA and missions launching in the next few years to recover asteroid samples

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 . A larger asteroid could be catastrophic.

That's why Campins and the planetary scientists at UCF organized this free Viewing Party and invited leaders in this asteroid research to speak to the public about the reality and myths of these on Feb. 15. UCF and the Florida Space Institute are sponsoring this event.

Explore further: SpaceX continues to expand facilities, workforce in quest for space

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New horseshoe orbit Earth-companion asteroid discovered

Apr 06, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Apostolos Christou and David Asher from the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland announced the discovery of an asteroid near Earth called Asteroid 2010 SO16 and their findings were published ...

Recommended for you

India launches biggest ever rocket into space

1 hour ago

India successfully launched its biggest ever rocket on Thursday, including an unmanned capsule which could one day send astronauts into space, as the country ramps up its ambitious space programme.

Image: Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

22 hours ago

From the International Space Station, Expedition 42 Flight Engineer Terry W. Virts took this photograph of the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Gulf Coast at sunset and posted it to social media on Dec. 14, 2014.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gwrede
5 / 5 (1) Oct 29, 2012
The video is here.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.