Richard A. Lovett
for National Geographic News
Published May 17, 2012
A newly discovered asteroid called 2012 DA14 will pass so close to Earth in February that it might hit a communications satellite, scientists say.
"That's very unlikely, but we can't rule it out," said Paul Chodas, a planetary astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
Discovered several weeks ago by astronomers at the LaSagra Observatory in Spain, the asteroid is currently "a fuzzy little blob," as seen through telescopes, said Steven Chesley, also at JPL.
Astronomers estimate that the space rock is just 150 feet (45 meters) wide. But "the orbit for 2012 DA14 is currently very Earthlike, which means it will be very close to Earth on a regular basis," Chodas said.
Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 19 February 2013 - 08:21 PM.
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