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Space & Astronomy

Asteroid set to pass us by on Christmas Eve

By T.K. Randall
December 19, 2015 · Comment icon 10 comments

The asteroid will return again several times over the next few years. Image Credit: NASA
Following on from Halloween's close encounter, another seasonal asteroid will soon be paying us a visit.
Originally discovered by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search program back in 2003, the 2km-long asteroid known as '2003 SD220' is set to pass us by this Christmas Eve.

Fortunately though it will be keeping its distance and won't came any closer than 6.7 million miles.
"The 2015 apparition is the first of five encounters by this object in the next 12 years when it will be close enough for radar detection," wrote NASA astronomer and asteroid expert Lance Benner.


Detecting and observing near-Earth asteroids is particularly beneficial, not only because it can help us to better understand the composition and origins of these objects but because NASA is hoping to land humans on an asteroid in the future as part of its program to send astronauts to Mars.

Stargazers should also be in for a treat when the asteroid reaches its closest approach next week.

Source: News.com.au | Comments (10)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Harte 9 years ago
I understand it's a leftover chunk of the now-destroyed Nibiru. Harte
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
Let's hope it never gets close enough!!
Comment icon #3 Posted by Infernal Gnu 9 years ago
I would love to put a tractor beam on it and a force field around it and bring it carefully down to earth and put it in my backyard. What a cool conversation piece it would be!
Comment icon #4 Posted by moon tide 9 years ago
6.7 million miles away. Well, that's good. I read somewhere else [maybe on here] that it was going to brush within satellite distance. Whatever the case, humans must come up with an effective means to avert a major asteroid collision with our Earth. A 2km long asteroid, like this one, could cause an apocalypse. And if the asteroid is spotted too late, again, like this one, attempting to deflect it with nukes wont alter it's trajectory enough, either. It's time the scientists finally put their thinking caps on and came up with something that could save the Earth instead destroying it!
Comment icon #5 Posted by coolguy 9 years ago
Will we be able to see this pretty cool
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
I read somewhere else [maybe on here] that it was going to brush within satellite distance. That was a different, much smaller, asteroid that has noe been and gone. It's time the scientists finally put their thinking caps on and came up with something that could save the Earth instead destroying it! Don't blame the scientists, they have been putting forward many different proposals for years on how this could be done. Blame the politicians that won't give them the funds and blame us, the voters, for putting them in power.
Comment icon #7 Posted by XenoFish 9 years ago
Maybe we should land a satellite on one of these. Let it coast through the cosmos sending data back to us. Free ride and less fuel.
Comment icon #8 Posted by back to earth 9 years ago
I think its Santa
Comment icon #9 Posted by back to earth 9 years ago
Maybe we should land a satellite on one of these. Let it coast through the cosmos sending data back to us. Free ride and less fuel. wouldnt the energy needed to get to it, match speed and land on it be the same as just sending one up and out on its own ? Once they are on a course, they just keep going - dont they ?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Zamor 9 years ago
Checked future close encounters on http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=163899;orb=1 And december 21 2018 will be a really good date for doomsdaypreachers Zam


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