In What Will Be The Closest Flyby On Record, An Asteroid Will Miss The Earth By Only 15 Minutes
February 15th almost became the most significant date in human history. Remember in grade school learning about the dinosaurs? Remember hearing about how they ruled the Earth for roughly 180 million years before disappearing virtually overnight? Do you remember what the leading suspected cause of the most famous mass extinction in history was?
So yeah, on February 15, we were about 15 minutes away from Armageddon 2. Well, it wouldn’t have been that dramatic, but catastrophic nonetheless.
This Friday, an asteroid about 50 yards wide will miss our planet by a scant 17,200 miles, according to National Geographic.com. To put that in perspective, the Moon orbits the Earth at an average distance of about 240 thousand miles. In fact, the asteroid, which was given the sexy name of 2012 DA14, will pass inside the orbit of some of our satellites. It will be the closest flyby on record.
While the asteroid isn’t large enough to cause a mass extinction, were it to hit the Earth, it would have the destructive power of a few megatons of TNT, enough to wipe out a city.
Fortunately, scientists keeping track of the asteroid have ruled out any chance of impact. Unfortunately, it will pass over the Indian Ocean at 11:24 am PST, which means SoCal residents will not be able to see it.
But before you breathe a sigh a relief, here is Bill Nye (The Science Guy!) to instill the fear of God in you as only he can.
- Carlos Delgado, CBS Radio