150-foot asteroid passing by Earth is warning and goldmine

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

The 5 miles per second rock shooting through the Eastern sky Friday could unlock vast wealth, or spell destruction. The 150-foot wide asteroid 2012 DA14 is the largest to ever be detected passing this close and will provide lessons for space exploration.

“This is a unique opportunity,” Dwayne Brown, a spokesman for Nasa’s science department, told Metro. “This can tell us about asteroid trajectories, how the Sun affects them, and their origin in nature.”

2012 DA14 will pass just 17,000 miles away – within communication satellite orbit – and although it is not considered a threat, it will influence disaster preparation. “If we can better understand the approach, that helps us with an asteroid on collision course,” says Brown, adding that a strategy already exists based on deflection. “You can nudge it onto another course with even a light touch.”

Nasa have made asteroid study a top priority, and an army of robotic telescopes and sky surveyors helped to spot 2012 DA14 in February 2012. It is significant progress given that many asteroids are only seen as, or after, they pass.

Citizen astronomers have key to the advance, and thousands of enthusiasts will be watching the skies Friday. “Some amateur astronomers have observatories that would make a university jealous,” said David Dickinson, editor of the Astroguyz website. “Websites allow you to calculate co-ordinates for accurate location, how to watch and monitor events – and we’re constantly exchanging information live on Twitter.”

Civil society groups are increasingly partners in asteroid exploration and have been heavily involved in the 2016 launch of the OSIRIS-REx satellite, the first mission to mine samples from moving asteroids. 2012 DA14 has an estimated value of $200 billion in precious metals, hinting at a lucrative future in asteroid mining.

Yet over half of all Near-Earth Objects (NEO) remain undetected and a threat. “We need to find objects down to at least 100m, the vast majority of which we haven’t found yet,” Richard Crowther, chief engineer at the UK Space Agency, told Metro. A sudden, catastrophic event remains a possibility.

How to watch

2012 DA14 will be closest at 1924 GMT Friday and will be visible from parts of Europe and Africa. David Dickinson recommends being somewhere as dark as possible with telescope or binoculars and a wide field of vision. Calculate its route beforehand and focus on one position, the asteroid will resemble a shooting star and will be clearest when passing in front of the Moon. Check out Astroguyz.com or b612foundation.org to find out more, or http://www.nasa.gov/ntv to watch live.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox walk off with…

Red Sox pick up first walk off win of 2014

MLB

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at…

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at 11 a.m.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.

Comments

2

  1. Pingback: Asteroid 'Close Shave' with Earth

  2. Pingback: 150-foot asteroid passing by Earth is warning and goldmine | One Stop Newsstand New York