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article imageAsteroid 2012 DA14 heads for Earth next year

By Anne Sewell     Mar 4, 2012 in Science
Scientists are predicting that the asteroid 2012 DA14 has a small chance of colliding with Earth in eleven months. Watch the skies in February 2013!
According to RT, NASA has confirmed that the 60 meter (or 197 feet) asteroid, which was spotted by Spanish stargazers in February this year, may be on a collision course to Earth.
The scientists suggest confronting this asteroid with either big guns or, more strangely, with paint. The problem with either option is that there is no time to build a spaceship for the operation.
A spaceship could either shoot the asteroid down or simply crash into it - this would either break it into pieces or throw it off course.
NASA expert David Dunham suggested: “We could paint it.”
The paint would change the asteroid's ability to reflect sunlight, alter its spin and change its temperature. However, even taking the asteroid off course could be dangerous when it returns in 2056, according to Aleksandr Devaytkin the head of the observatory in Russia’s Pulkovo, as told to Izvestia in Russia recently.
The asteroid's closest approach to earth is scheduled for 15 February 2013, when they predict that the distance between it and earth will be under 27,000 km (16,700 miles).
With the asteroid zooming that low, it will be too late to do anything with it besides trying to predict its final destination and the consequences of impact.
However, NASA's David Dunham did say: “The asteroid may split into pieces entering the atmosphere. In this case, most parts of it will never reach the planet’s surface.”
But theories are that if the entire asteroid did crash into the planet, the impact will be as hard as in the Tunguska blast, which in 1908 knocked down trees over a total area of 2,150 sq km (830 sq miles) in Siberia.
So keep your head down and watch the skies.
More about Asteroid, Meteorite, Space, Earth
 
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