150-Foot Asteroid Hurtling Toward a Close Pass With Earth
KREX News Room
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Scientists say a 150-foot asteroid hurtling toward a close pass with Earth Friday afternoon.
The asteroid is about the size of an Olympic swimming pool at 150 feet in diameter. It's expected to make the closest known flyby for a rock of its size, missing Earth by 17,150 miles. That would make it the closest encounter since scientists began routinely monitoring asteroids about 15 years ago.
Television, weather and communications satellites fly about 500 miles higher. The moon is 14 times farther away.
Even so NASA scientists believe there is no chance of a collision with Earth.
"There's really nothing to be worried about when this asteroid passes the earth on February 15th. We understand its orbit extremely well and we can say with great confidence that there is no chance of hitting the Earth and the chances of hitting the satellite are negligible," says astronomer Donald Yeomans, with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The time of the asteroid's closest approach will be 12:25 MST. Most likely it will not be visible to the naked eye in the United States, but dark in Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia where professional and amateur astronomers will be standing by with telescopes and binoculars to catch a view.
DA14 will soar through the sky at about 8 miles per second. At that speed, an object of similar size on a collision course with Earth would strike with the force of about 2.4 million tons of dynamite.
The last time that happened was in 1908 when an asteroid or comet exploded over Siberia, leveling 80 million trees over 830 square miles.
Scientists say a 150-foot asteroid hurtling toward a close pass with Earth today had nothing to do with the meteor that injured hundreds in Russia on Friday morning.