Experts say near Earth asteroid not a threat
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Feb. 8, 2013
Web Producer: Taylor Higgins
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Imagine a football field. Now imagine a giant rock that size flying through space towards Earth. Well that's what will happen one week from today.
It's being called a "near Earth asteroid" and it's expected to come within 17-thousand miles away from the Earth's surface on February 15th. It will be closest asteroid in history, but local experts say it won't be close enough to sound any alarms.
"We know the orbit very well so we can predict very preciously the close approach distance," says Dr. Dante Lauretta, UA Planetary Sciences professor. "It's not going to hit the Earth. It's not going to hit any of our critical satellites or the International Space Station."
Dr. Lauretta and his collegues are tracking this asteroid to help us prepare for future space objects that have a higher chance of hitting the Earth.
"So we want to be able to understand their orbit not only today or next week, but 50 years out so we can get ready if we do need to plan a deflection mission," Dr. Lauretta said.
You will not be able to see this asteroid with your naked eye, but if you can get your hands on a powerful telescope, you'll be able to see it just fine.