Government // Leadership
News
9/8/2010
11:13 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Asteroids Just Missed Earth Wednesday

NASA says the space rocks, detected only Sunday, came within a moon's distance of striking the planet's surface.

Two asteroids sped toward Earth but just missed humanity's home planet by what amounts to a cosmic hair's breadth on Wednesday, NASA said.

The asteroids, both measuring several meters in diameter but otherwise unrelated, were passing between the Earth and the moon, according to the space agency. "Neither of these objects has a chance of hitting Earth," NASA said.

One of the asteroids, labeled as 2010 RX30, is roughly 32 to 65 feet in size. It was expected to come within about 154,000 miles of Earth in the early hours. The second, 2010 RF12, is thought to be about 20 to 46 feet in size. It was expected to miss the Earth by just 49,088 miles.

The asteroids were only detected Sunday, by the Catalina Sky Survey just outside Tucson, Ariz., during what NASA referred to as "a routine monitoring of the skies." Their trajectory was then plotted by scientists at the Minor Planet Center, in Cambridge, Mass., who determined that the space rocks would not strike Earth.

The asteroids should have been visible to amateur astronomers using moderate sized telescopes, according to NASA.

While not of the giant, civilization threatening variety of the type depicted in Hollywood blockbusters like "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon", the asteroids, had they made it to the Earth's surface, could have caused at least minor damage, especially if they had struck an urban area.

NASA said similarly sized near-Earth asteroids are an almost daily occurrence, and only strike the planet about once every ten years.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
InformationWeek surveyed 11,662 IT pros across 30 industries about their pay, benefits, job satisfaction, outsourcing, and more. Some of the results will surprise you.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.