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November 04, 2011

Quarter-mile-wide asteroid coming close to Earth

I think that this article goes along perfectly with what we've been discussing in class right now. An asteroid bigger than an aircraft carrier will pass between the Earth and the Moon on this coming Tuesday. This is the the closest encounter by such a large asteroid in over 35 years. The asteroid, named 2005 YU55, has passed by the Earth before, over 200 years ago actually, but has never come this close to striking the planet. The asteroid will be only 202,000 miles of Earth and 150,000 miles from the Moon. Scientists have estimated that if 2005 YU55 were to plow into the Earth, it would blast out a crater four miles across and 1,700 feet deep. This would be equivalent to a magnitude 7 earthquake and 70 foot high tsunami waves around the entire planet. Scientists have been tracking the asteroid since its discovery in 2005, and are positive it won't do any damage. To read more of the article, and to find out about more possible close impacts that could occur, go to


Posted by nzingas at November 4, 2011 08:17 PM


Yes it seems that this is a relatively common occurrence.

But I wonder what we as a civilization can do if we do indeed spot one that can be of great harm to us. Then i stumbled upon this great link that tells us ways that we can prevent a mass extinction from an asteroid.


Posted by: davidnug at November 6, 2011 12:21 PM

I can't believe they didn't mention some sort of laser as a means to stop it. I suppose the mirrors and the nukes are similar concepts but the laser just seems so cool. Also, since the asteroid is closer then it was 200 years ago I wonder if several hundred years in the future it might strike. Hope we're ready...

Posted by: cato at November 6, 2011 04:10 PM

If we were smart, we would choose the most non-destructive way to avoid a collision. As we have learned, things happen in our galaxy for natural reasons. If we were to interfere in something such destroying a massive asteroid, we would have no idea what the consequences would be. We should intervene as little as possible. I am in favor of a "nudge" great enough to move the astroid just off of hitting the earth. Scientists have been contemplating this destroy or deflect debate.


Posted by: adamblis at November 7, 2011 11:32 AM

Agreed with the poster above,
the movie Armageddon is particularly misleading because if we were to blow up an asteroid similar to the size of the one in the movie with a nuke, then it could potentially cause more damage as gravity would hold the pieces together and millions of pieces would rain down on Earth's surface as opposed to just one giant asteroid.

Posted by: jeffsong at November 8, 2011 11:00 PM

I also saw this online yesterday on the Washington Post. It is amazing how the asteroid came close enough to the moons gravitational pull, but it is still not visible to the naked eye, and even very hard to see through a telescope. It is a C-Type asteroid, so it is darker and hard to see compared to most objects in the solar system. Even though the odds are small, it is scary to see these asteroids coming so close to the Earth.

Posted by: jjwdowik at November 8, 2011 11:59 PM

This is very interesting and suggestive that the government may need to start taking priority in locating approaching asteroids and comets which could be harmful.

Posted by: kimnath at November 9, 2011 01:44 PM

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