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: Europe sat-nav launch glitch linked to frozen pipe

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

Europe sat-nav launch glitch linked to frozen pipe

6 hours ago

A frozen fuel pipe in the upper stage of a Soyuz launcher likely caused the failure last month to place two European navigation satellites in orbit, a source close to the inquiry said Wednesday.

Cyanide ice in Titan's atmosphere

8 hours ago

Gigantic polar clouds of hydrogen cyanide roughly four times the area of the UK are part of the impressive atmospheric diversity of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, a new study led by Leiden Observatory, ...

Video: Alleged meteor caught on Russian dash cam (again)

11 hours ago

Thanks to the ubiquity of dashboard-mounted video cameras in Russia yet another bright object has been spotted lighting up the sky over Siberia, this time a "meteor-like object" seen on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 27.

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.