A significant asteroid will give Earth a buzz this week, and will come a little too close for comfort!
The asteroid, given the moniker 2012 DA14, measures some fifty yards (forty meters) in diameter and is traveling at the super-fast speed of 26,000 miles per hour, according to information provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The enormous space rock will pass within a mere 17,200 miles (27,680 km) of the surface of the Earth at approximately 2:30 pm EST on February 15, 2013.
The distance, although considerable, actually will place the asteroid closer to our planet than the geosynchronous weather and communications satellites orbiting high above Earth, which are in orbit at 22,000 miles (35,800 km).
NASA assured the public that there is absolutely no chance of 2012 DA14 impacting the Earth, although its passage will be one for the record books. "This is a record-setting close approach," said Don Yeomans of NASA's Near Earth Object Program at JPL. "Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth."
NASA also assures that the object will not strike the International Space Station or any of the many satellites orbiting the Earth. Although the object might not seem to be substantial, it would still pack quite a punch if it were to impact our planet. According to Yeomans, an object of similar size created the mile wide Meteor Crater in Arizona about 50,000 years ago and an space object estimated to have been about the size of 2012 DA14 exploded with incredible force high above sparsely populated Tunguska, Russia in 1908, leveling hundreds of square miles of forest.
[Addendum: NASA is claiming that the meteor explosions over Chelyabinsk, Russia, as well as a smaller eruption over Cuba on the same day as the flyby of 2012 DA14 is strictly "coincidental". Hmmm.... That doesn't sound at all believable. Also, could the Russian meteor event have been picked up by the Webbot Project as well as by remote viewers from the Farsight Project?]
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