By ALICIA CHANG, AP Science Writer
Thu Jan 24, 10:33 PM ET
LOS ANGELES - An asteroid at least 500 feet long will make a rare close pass by Earth next week, but there is no chance of an impact, scientists reported Thursday.
The object, known as 2007 TU24, is expected to whiz by Earth on Tuesday with its closest approach at 334,000 miles, or about 1.4 times the distance of Earth to the moon.
The nighttime encounter should be bright enough for medium-sized telescopes to get a glimpse, said Don Yeomans, manager of the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which tracks potentially dangerous space rocks.
However, next week's asteroid pass "has no chance of hitting, or affecting, Earth," Yeomans said.
An actual collision of a similar-sized object with Earth occurs on average every 37,000 years.
Spotted last October by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, 2007 TU24 is estimated to be between 500 feet and 2,000 feet long. The next time an asteroid this size will fly this close to Earth will be in 2027.
Scientists plan to point the Goldstone radar telescope in California and the Arecibo radar telescope in Puerto Rico at the asteroid and observe its path before and after its closest approach to Earth. Researchers will use instruments to measure its rotation and composition.
The 2007 TU24 rendezvous comes a day before another asteroid is projected to pass close to Mars.
Scientists have effectively ruled out a collision between the Red Planet and the asteroid 2007 WD5, estimating it will pass at a distance of more than 16,000 miles from the Martian surface. Initial observations of the Mars-bound asteroid put the odds of an impact at 1 in 25, but scientists later dropped the odds to 1 in 10,000.
just to throw this out there...in 2029 an asteroid will pass so close to earth that it will fly below our communications satellites. 7 years later the asteroid will make another pass and scientists speculate that " impact is a possiblity"
many years ago an asteroid impacted in europe somewhere(forget the country). it hit in a heavily forested area and completely destroyed all life within 300 miles...the asteroid of 2036 will be much much larger.
Its not coming it came, its 700 kilometer far away from earth now, and its fast falling down. it will go to america first, I wish bush die now itself, he kills sweet little children, Allah will give him his punishment!
The UK newsreaders this morning were amused as to what astronomers call 'close'. It makes you realise what kinds of distances they normally deal with!
Yes, but mostly the asteroids missed it by a few inches. Hopefully they land on Earth, I want to see a big asteroid right at my home.
Appears to be a non-story - a miss is a miss - in this case a 334,000 miles miss.
im kinda hoping it hits. that would bring chaos to an already messed up wolrd