26 Mar 2012

A collection of images showing asteroids and comets that have been inspected by spacecraft as of 2010  (Credit:  Emily Lakdawala)
A collection of images showing asteroids and comets that have been inspected by spacecraft as of 2010 (Credit: Emily Lakdawala)

In what is yet another example of an asteroid close encounter, 2 small asteroids zipped between the moon and Earth and were only discovered last weekend.  They came by one after the other.  One early in the day March 26th, the second at 1:09 p.m. EDT (1709 GMT), according to astronomers with the NASA's Asteroid Watch program.  Both were small, under 10 meters and posed no risk.

Asteroid 2012 FP35 came within 96,000 miles (154,000 km) of Earth.  It is just under 30 feet (9 meters) wide, the size of a tour bus.

The second one called 2012 FS35 came within 36,000 miles (58,000 km) as it zoomed by.  This asteroid is nearly 10 feet (3 meters) wide, or the size of a small car.

They both came within the orbit of the moon, which circles the earth at around 238,000 miles (382,900 km).

Due to their small size and the fact they wouldn't survive going through the Earth's atmosphere they were quickly dismissed as threats.

The Tech-Stew Take Home

So once again another set of asteroids zip between the Earth and moon, only detected at a time when it would be too late to do anything about it, if they were a real threat.  In a recent topic about a possible comet threat in 2013 (2012 DA14), it was determined if the comet were to become a threat, it would take 2 years to ready a spacecraft to do anything about the issue.  This certainly shows the importance of an early warning system, particularly one deployed in space and also the space program in general.  It's only a matter of time, if we don't put these systems into place and get necessary funding, before a close call becomes a direct and unavoidable hit.

Source:  space.com


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