Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Will Asteroid Hit Earth?

Did you know that in l908 a space rock measuring between 69 feet and 154 feet in diameter, hit Siberia and leveled more than 800 square miles of forest? Well, an asteroid about that size buzzed the Earth. They named it 2009 DD45 and it was about 48,800 miles from Earth when it zipped past early a week ago Monday. NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab reported on this. That would be about a fifth of the distance to the Moon or just twice as high as the orbits of some telecommunications satellites.

Although 48,800 miles may sound like a long distance, astronomer Timothy Spahr of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said that was pretty darn close. Now they are keeping their eye on another one. They figure the next time an object will get closer to Earth will be in 2029 when an 885 foot asteroid called 99942 Apophis comes within 20,000 miles. I guess we were lucky last year when the asteroid 2008 TC3 burned up harmlessly over Africa in the Earth's atmosphere just 19 hours after it was discovered. If one ever hits Earth, it could destroy life as we know it.

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