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A near-Earth asteroid swept safely past Earth on February 15, 2013, and astronomers in many parts of the world were ready with cameras and video equipment. At its closest to us, asteroid 2012 DA14 was within the orbit of the moon (which averages about a quarter million miles away), and closer than some high-orbiting communications satellites. Its closest point was about 17,200 miles (27,680 kilometers) away.
It measured just 36m (120ft) across, but the last known asteroid of such a size to hit Earth wiped out an area of Russian forest the size of London in 1908. Scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about the possible impact of asteroids measuring less than 1km across, which are not typically picked up by surveying programmes and could only be detected at very short notice. Delegates from across the world will gather at the United Nations in February to come up with a framework for earlier detection of asteroids, and a plan of action if a collision is deemed possible. Prof Richard Crowther, chief engineer at the UK Space Agency, said: "The theory is that if you can see it soon enough, you can deal with it. What we want to avoid is dealing with something that is only a couple of years away from impact – not only for technical reasons but also on the policy front.
It sounds like the plot of a bad Bruce Willis movie, but some experts are saying it should be a reality. In order to prepare for massive asteroids that could aim for Earth in the future, researchers should ram a spaceship into a real asteroid to see if the space rock would shift course, scientists say. The proposal, which was presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, would send two spaceships to deflect a small asteroid in a binary (double asteroid) system coming toward Earth in 2022. One spaceship would crash into the asteroid, hopefully deflecting it, while another would observe the collision. "This is the biggest problem for planetary defense," said Andrew Cheng, a physicist at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins, who is proposing the space mission.
<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-92202" title="Asteroid impact resize" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2012/01/Asteroid-impact-resize.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="492" /> The chances that your tombstone will read “Killed by Asteroid” are about the same as they’d be for “ Killed in Airplane Crash .” Solar System debris rains down on Earth in vast quantities — more than a hundred tons of it a day. Most of it vaporizes in our atmosphere, leaving stunning trails of light we call shooting stars. More hazardous are the billions, likely trillions, of leftover rocks — comets and asteroids — that wander interplanetary space in search of targets. Most asteroids are made of rock.
7 Strangest Asteroids in the Solar System | Asteroids Apophis, Ceres & Vesta | Dawn Mission to Vesta & Ceres | Space.comIntro <p>Early this Saturday (July 17) morning EDT, NASA's Dawn spacecraft will rendezvous with the asteroid Vesta. This will be our best look yet at an asteroid, and what the probe digs up could help scientists answer several questions about this and the hundreds of thousands of asteroids that populate the solar system.
Intro <p>The life-threatening dangers here on Earth may seem like plenty. But lest you forget: at any moment, a rock traveling at 20,000 miles per hour could fall out of the blue sky above, crash through your roof and bonk you on the head. Here's a run-through of modern-era meteorites that have hit people, made them sick, or simply wrecked their cars.</p> Peekskill fireball
A well-placed nuclear explosion could actually save humanity from a big asteroid hurtling toward Earth, just like in the movies, a new study suggests. Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory , a United States Department of Energy facility in New Mexico, used a supercomputer to model nukes' anti-asteroid effectiveness . They attacked a 1,650-foot-long (500-meter) space rock with a 1-megaton nuclear weapon — about 50 times more powerful than the U.S. blast inflicted on Nagasaki, Japan , to help end World War II.