U of A astronomers keeping close eye on asteroid
A giant asteroid called 2012 DA 14 will pass within 17,000 miles of Earth -- that's between Earth and the International Space Station.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Justin Schecker
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A giant asteroid called 2012 DA 14 will pass within 17,000 miles of Earth -- that's between Earth and the International Space Station.
It weighs more than 130,000 tons more than a full-sized cruise ship. It's the size of a football field and is moving eight times faster than a bullet from a gun.
NASA officials say it will pass between Earth and communication satellites, so hold on to your smartphones.
It is a long shot, but some experts say a collision with a satellite is possible.
University of Arizona scientists are tracking the asteroid and they tell Nine On Your Side it will not collide with Earth.
"We should not be worried," U of A astronomer Dante Lauretta said. "We know the orbit very well, so we can predict very preciously the close approach distance. It's not going to hit the Earth."
And while no one will blow up DA 14, scientists plan to study the near miss very closely.
"These objects are potentially hazardous, which means that they have a probability of impacting the earth at some point in the future," Lauretta said. "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."
NASA officials say asteroids the size of DA 14 hit the Earth about every 12 hundred years.
Here is the link to watch the NASA live stream of the asteroid.