Asteroid to buzz by Earth on Monday 27th JuneJune 26, 2011
On Monday 27th June an asteroid the size of a bus will pass around 7,500 miles (12,000 km) from the Earth’s surface. Making its closest approach at 13:14 EDT (17:14 GMT/18:14 BST), the asteroid named 2011 MD will sail by high off the coast of Antarctica, almost 2,000 miles (3,218 km) south-southwest of South Africa.
Asteroid 2011 MD was only discovered on Wednesday 22nd June by LINEAR, a pair of robotic telescopes in New Mexico that scan the skies for near-Earth objects. Estimates suggest that 2011 MD is anything from 9 to 30 metres wide.
According to NASA’s Near-Earth Object Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), objects of this size come this close to Earth about every 6 years on average.
While there is no chance that 2011 MD will hit the Earth, the gravitational pull of our world will change the trajectory of the asteroid, and scientists will use the close pass to study it with radar observations.
Even if the asteroid were to enter Earth’s atmosphere it likely wouldn’t reach the surface, as objects less than 25m usually break up before being able to cause any damage.
Another near miss then!
Full article on Space.com