Huge Asteroid 2012 DA14 projected to pass Earth nears (Video)

A near-Earth asteroid – called 2012 DA14 by astronomers – will pass very close to Earth on February 15, 2013. Astronomers estimate that, when it’s closest to us, it’ll be within the orbit of the moon (which is about 240,000 miles away), and within the orbits of geosynchronous satellites (about 26,000 miles up).

2012 DA14 will be about 21,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) away. It will not strike Earth in 2013. Astronomers’ calculations of asteroid orbits can be trusted. After all, even decades ago, they knew enough about calculating orbits to send people to the moon and bring them safely back, and today we are able place our space vehicles in orbit around objects as small as asteroids.

Risks of Asteroid – 2012 DA14

  • The asteroid will not impact Earth on February 15, 2013.
  • There is a 1 in 7,692,308,000 chance of 2012 DA14 impacting Earth on 16 February 2110.
  • It is rated a low −10 on the Palermo Scale. (The risk is less than one billionth of the estimated risk of another similarly sized near-Earth asteroid hitting Earth during that time period. It is estimated that there are more than a million near-Earth asteroids smaller than 100 meters.)
  • It rates 0 (No Hazard) on the Torino scale.

If it were to hit Earth, it is estimated that it would produce the equivalent of 2.5 megatons of TNT. The Tunguska event has been estimated at 3−20 megatons. Asteroids about 50 meters in diameter are expected to impact Earth once every 1200 years or so.

So, no, 2012 DA14 won’t strike us in 2013. There was a remote possibility it might strike us in 2020, but that possibility has been ruled out also. It was discovered on February 23, 2012, by the OAM Observatory, La Sagra in Spain.

2012 DA14 Risk

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass closest on February 15, 2013. As the image above shows, it will pass much closer than the orbit of the moon – closer even that orbiting geosynchronous satellites (22,000 miles). Image Credit: NASA

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