Small asteroid to pass within Earth-Moon system Tuesday

October 11, 2010, JPL/NASA

A newly discovered car-sized asteroid will fly past Earth early Tuesday. The asteroid, 2010 TD54, will make its closest approach to Earth at 6:51 EDT a.m. (3:51 a.m. PDT). Image credit: NASA/JPL
( -- A small asteroid will fly past Earth early Tuesday within the Earth-moon system. The asteroid, 2010 TD54, will have its closest approach to Earth's surface at an altitude of about 45,000 kilometers (27,960 miles) at 6:50 EDT a.m. (3:50 a.m. PDT).

At that time, the asteroid will be over southeastern Asia in the vicinity of Singapore. During its flyby, Asteroid 2010 TD54 has zero probability of impacting Earth. A telescope of the NASA-sponsored Catalina Sky Survey north of Tucson, Arizona discovered 2010 TD54 on Oct. 9 at (12:55 a.m. PDT) during routine monitoring of the skies.

2010 TD54 is estimated to be about 5 to 10 meters (16 to 33 feet) wide. Due to its small size, the asteroid would require a of moderate size to be viewed. A five-meter-sized near-Earth asteroid from the undiscovered population of about 30 million would be expected to pass daily within a lunar distance, and one might strike Earth's atmosphere about every 2 years on average. If an of the size of 2010 TD54 were to enter Earth's atmosphere, it would be expected to burn up high in the atmosphere and cause no damage to Earth's surface.

The distance used on the Near Earth Object page is always the calculated distance from the center of Earth. The distance stated for 2010 TD54 is 52,000 kilometers (32,000 miles). To get the distance it will pass from Earth's surface you need to subtract the distance from the center to the surface (which varies over the planet), or about one Earth radii. That puts the pass distance at about 45,500 kilometers (28,000 miles) above the planet. NASA detects, tracks and characterizes asteroids and comets passing close to using both ground-and space-based telescopes.

The 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.

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not rated yet Oct 11, 2010
Followed closely by the garage-sized and continent-sized asteroids hiding in its shadow.

"And in the news today, the secret of immortality and cold fusion posted to the web. More coverage la.... what's that noise?"

Surely it wouldn't hit us just when we discover something amazing?
4 / 5 (1) Oct 12, 2010
I have seen the NEO table that NASA provides & we don't have to be worried for a few years yet -- but what concerns me is that even though this one is small... it was only discovered 2 days ago...

If I were in charge & had a few billion to blow into the wind I'd... put up 18 satellites in an amazingly far earth orbit & 10 more around the moon... voyeger's power source has lasted for 20 yrs but putting up unmatainneced sats has gone out of style... we could observe the earth, the sun, & look out for asteroids -- there is almost no excuse to be caught by surprise for a NEO.

We should have satelites around almost every planet in this solar system... shoot them up & put them in orbit. Why are we still guessing about objects in our solar system.

I am just an arrogant American & Manifest Destiny might have never died for me but -- this is our neighborhood we own it -- but we don't know much about it.

we want to talk to aliens but we could be annihilated any given day of the week
not rated yet Oct 12, 2010
el nose, I have thought much about this space rock detection issue. I reckon the best long term approach, which I agree we should start work on today, will be to put a very large radar scanner on the hidden side of the moon. It should be far enough around the limb of the Moon that none of its radiation would leak back to Earth. Also we would not want bursts of reflected radar waves from satellites in Lunar orbit.

Such a transmitter would not need to move much, if at all. If it were to shine its microwaves in a narrow but extended, fan-shaped pattern spread in a plane aligned north-south then over a month it would scan the whole solar system. Earth based receivers could analyse reflections that came from objects near and far. Proper choice of signal pattern would allow detection and study of objects many light hours away.
not rated yet Oct 12, 2010
"Movies" of 2010 TD54 taken by a Utah amateur astronomer (with a 14" Schmidt-Cass, to boot!) earlier today have been posted: http://www.univer...o-earth/

See Ya....It's outta here!

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