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SCI/TECH: Asteroid Has Closest Recorded Miss With Earth

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posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 10:18 AM
An asteroid 100 feet in diameter will skim past the Earth missing it by only 26,500 miles, which is only about 3.5 diameters of the earth. The path it will take is just beyond the geosynchronous weather satellites that orbit at a distance of 22,300 miles. This makes it the closest recorded miss of any object of its size.
An asteroid will pass closer to Earth than ever recorded at 5:08 p.m. EST (2208 GMT) today, NASA scientists announced. The planet is not at risk, they said. The space rock is about 100 feet (30 meters) wide. As it flies past Earth, the path of 2004 FH will be bent about 15 degrees by Earth's gravity. It will zoom from one side of the Moon's orbit to the other in 31 hours. Astronomers are swinging telescopes toward the newfound object in what they consider an unprecedented opportunity to study a space rock up close. An object of this size, where it to take direct aim, would likely break apart or explode in the atmosphere, astronomers say. The result could cause local damage. Something just slightly larger could survive to the surface and destroy a city.

"The important thing is not that it's happening, but that we detected it," JPL astronomer Steve Chesley said of today's flyby. NASA only learned of the asteroid on Monday night, and they did a follow up Tuesday to confirm it. It is interesting that they were able to find this object, but still discomforting that they only knew of it a couple of days before it passed by. Recent advances in electronic cameras and automated telescopes have led to more discoveries of near Earth objects, but it still takes time to determine the possibility of impact. The asteroid circles the Sun every nine months, so there is a possibility that the Earth could have another encounter with asteroid 2004 FH.

Related Articles:
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Related ATS Discussions:
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[Edited on 18-3-2004 by dbates]

posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 10:35 AM
Good find, it should not be a asteroid though. Its not big enough. Has to be atleast a mile.

First let us explain the only diffence between an asteroid and a meteroid: their sizes. Anything smaller than 1 mile across is considered a meteroid. Anything larger is considered an asteroid. Asteroids are mini planets that orbit the Sun between Mars & Jupiter, known as the Asteroid Belt. Scientists believe there are at least 40,000 asteroids in this area. The main ingredient in this flying debris of dust & rocks is 'irridium'. The largest asteroid in the belt is known as Series (600 miles wide) and then Vesta and Polis (350 miles wide)

Sky Gazing

Shooting stars (meteors) are best spotted when the Earth travels close to a swarm of meteroids in its path around the Sun. The most famous meteor shower is called Perseids.. In N. America, these are typically viewed best in August.

As a meteoroid travels close to Earth our atmosphere burns them up and they disappear. However, sometimes a large meteoriod does make it to Earth then it is called a meteorite. The largest one known to man, fell in prehistoric times in Namibia, Africa. It weighs more than 60 tonnes. It is still there. Check out the meteor calender

Threats & Benefits
Some scientists believe that it was an asteroid that destroyed the dinosuar's reign on Earth, 65 million years ago. An average size meteoroid (300 yards across) could cause the equivalent damage of a large scale nuclear war, sending a murderous cloud around the Earth and cover us in complete darkness for a month. This is no reason to fear a devasting hit by an asteroid. An asteroid of that size would only hit Earth every 10,000-15,000 years (statistically speaking). We are now working on predicting and tracking any perilously close asteroids. In the event that one came too close to the Earth we could attempt to deflect, destroy or pulverize the asteroid.

Asteroids and meteors are not necessarily a bad thing. Scientists are also working on how we could mine these floating hunks of rocks for valuable minerals such as nichel and iron. These 'rocks' could also be used as a stepping stone to living in space.

Other Asteroids That Have Hit
Meteor Crater, Arizona, USA
Wolf Creek, Australia
Manicouagan, New Quebec, Canada
Clearwater Lakes, Quebec, Canada

See how Asteroids and Meteoroids differ from Comets.
Check out report from NASA Gamma-Rays from an Asteroid

posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 12:25 PM
Thanks for the info COBRA... still scary stuff though no matter what.

posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 08:46 PM
Thats pretty close right there. First 26,500 then 25,000 then 24,000. You get the picture. I just hope im dead before a meteriod hits the earth and utterly destroys it. LOL. But still thats too close for comfort if you ask me.

posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 09:32 PM
I noticed the above states the closest recorded miss. Was the very near miss of an asteroid or meteoroid that skimmed the earth's atmosphere in a recorded video clip and in pics considered not recorded? This was a video clip I believe probably from the 70's or even 60's. The object was visible during the daytime streaking through the atmosphere. I believe I saw a pic of this near miss in an issue/bimonthly newsletter of The Planetary Society. Anyone know what makes an object become "recorded"?

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