Asteroid to Fly by Within Moon's Orbit Thursday
(PhysOrg.com) -- A newly discovered asteroid, 2010 GA6, will safely fly by Earth this Thursday at 4:06 p.m. Pacific (23:06 U.T.C.).
At time of closest approach 2010 GA6 will be about 359,000 kilometers (223,000 miles) away from Earth - about 9/10ths the distance to the moon. The asteroid, approximately 22 meters (71 feet) wide, was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey, Tucson, Az.
"Fly bys of near-Earth objects within the moon's orbit occur every few weeks," said Don Yeomans of NASA's Near-Earth Object Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
NASA detects and tracks asteroids and comets passing close to Earth using both ground and space-based telescopes. The Near-Earth Object Observations Program, commonly called "Spaceguard," discovers these objects, characterizes a subset of them and plots their orbits to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet.