NASA Takes New Radar Image of Massive Asteroid Buzzing Earth Today: VIDEO


A massive asteroid will buzz Earth on a path closer than the Moon's orbit today. writes:

The agency's Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif. snapped the image at 2:45 p.m. EST (1945 GMT) (yesterday) (Nov. 7), when the aircraft-carrier-size 2005 YU55 was about 860,000 miles (1.38 million kilometers) from Earth, NASA officials said.

2005 YU55, which is 1,300 feet (400 meters) wide, will get quite a bit closer still. It will come within about 201,700 miles (324,600 km) of our planet at 6:28 p.m. EST (2328 GMT) tomorrow — closer than the moon, which orbits 238,864 miles (384,499 km) from us on average.

A space rock of this size hasn't come so near to Earth since 1976 and won't again until 2028.

CNN adds:

If the asteroid were to crash into Earth, it could cause a 4,000 megaton blast and a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, according to scientists at Purdue University. If it fell into the ocean, it could cause a 70-foot high tsunami within 60 miles of the crash site, the experts said. However, the space rock, called Asteroid 2005 YU55, poses no threat of an Earth collision, according to NASA's Near Earth Object Program.

Watch CNN's report on the massive rock, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:25am ETC by Andy Towle
in News, Space