by Mitch Battros – Earth Changes Media
On Feb. 15th an asteroid about half the size of a football field will fly past Earth only 17,200 miles above our planet’s surface. The space rock, designated 2012 DA14, has NASA’s attention. “This is a record-setting close approach,” says 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.”
Asteroid “2012 DA14” measures some 50 meters wide
– the impact of a 50-meter asteroid created a mile wide crater known as “Meteor Crater” in Arizona when it struck about 50,000 years ago. Also, in 1908, something about the size of 2012 DA14 exploded in the atmosphere above Siberia, leveling hundreds of square miles of forest. Researchers are still studying the “Tunguska Event” for clues to the impacting object.
NASA radars will be monitoring the space rock as it approaches Earth closer than many man-made satellites.
The asteroid will thread the gap between low-Earth orbit, where the ISS and many Earth observation satellites are located, and the higher belt of geosynchronous satellites, which provide weather data and telecommunications.