At around 2:18 a.m. EDT on Sunday, an asteroid about the size of a house will buzz close by earth, passing over New Zealand on its way into the far reaches of space, and it's planning a return orbital trip our way, according to Fox News
The asteroid, a space rock measuring about 60 feet in diameter, named 2014 RC and nicknamed "Pitbull," will not impact Earth. In fact, according to NASA,
"The asteroid will pass below Earth and the geosynchronous ring of communications and weather satellites orbiting about 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above our planet's surface. While this celestial object does not appear to pose any threat to Earth or satellites, its close approach creates a unique opportunity for researchers to observe and learn more about asteroids."
More precisely, the asteroid will pass 21,126 miles from Earth's surface, or about 10 times closer to the Earth than the moon, according to Fox News, and will not be visible to the naked eye, but the Slooh Community Observatory
and the Virtual Telescope Project
both will broadcast live images of the asteroid as it hurtles past our planet.
NASA Expert: Sun Cycles to Cause 30 Year Cold Spell
Actually, if the asteroid were closer to the Earth's surface, ducking wouldn't help very much. With no warning until locals spotted it streaking overhead, a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2013, with the force of 30 atomic weapons, or 440 kilotons, according to NASA, injuring 1,500 people, CNN reports.
Sixteen hours later, NASA
and The Washington Post
report, an asteroid measuring 100 miles wide called DA14 passed only 17,500 miles over the Earth.
The Post's Capital Weather Gang contributor Steve Tracton wrote, "For the foreseeable future, then, Earth will continue to reside in a cosmic shooting gallery with an enormous number of currently unknown objects, some of which may have a direct bead on us without our knowing. While it is probably much more unlikely than likely, a potentially disastrous collision with an asteroid of at least the dimensions comparable to DA14 could occur anytime possibly with little or no warning in our lifetimes."
Manchester University physicist Brian Cox bluntly warned in the Daily Mail,
"There is an asteroid with our name on it and it will hit us."
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