January 27, 2012

Asteroid Passes Close To Earth

An asteroid about the size of a bus flew past Earth on Friday at a distance within about 36,750 miles.

Asteroid 2012 BX34 was first detected on Wednesday and skimmed by Earth at about a fifth of the distance of the Moon.

Astronomers assured everyone on Earth that there was no cause for concern, and that if it would have entered the atmosphere, it would not have survived.

Despite not being a big threat, the asteroid did make a record as one of the top 20 closest asteroids to approach the Earth.

"It makes it in to the top 20 closest approaches, but it's sufficiently far away... that there's absolutely no chance of it hitting us," Gareth Williams, associate director of the US-based Minor Planet Center, told the BBC.

For an asteroid to cause any real damage to Earth, it needs to measure at least 450-feet, according to some experts.  Asteroid 2012 BX34 only measured about 36 feet.

Scientists in Germany have launched a study to develop an asteroid shield in the event that a 450-footer ever breaches Earth's atmosphere.

The NEOShield project could take up to three years to complete, and the goal is to create a device that would repel asteroids by using projectiles or explosives.


On the Net: