Asteroids game

Satellites may be in danger this week as a record setting asteroid passes through the parking lot that is the planet’s geosynchronous parking lot.

2012 DA14, an asteroid discovered last Feb., measures a mere 150ft wide, but it could be enough to wreak havoc with the world’s telecommunications. Next Friday around 2 PM eastern, the asteroid will pass by us at least 17,200 miles above the surface, and will be travelling anywhere between 12,427mph and 18,641mph. Luckily a collision with the surface of the Earth has been ruled out, but where it will be passing through happens to be where we park a lot of our phone and weather satellietes.

Dr Dan Brown, from Nottingham Trent University, told The Telegraph, ”There are loads of them but you’re talking about a very big area. It would be very unlucky if a satellite was hit. The asteroid is more likely to hit some space junk, but most of this is only about a centimetre across and the impact won’t even be noticed.”

Despite what an inconvenience losing a satellite would be, we should still be grateful it will miss us. It is believed that the asteroid that exploded over Tunguska, Siberia in 1908 was of a similar size, and it wiped out 830 square miles of forest. According to calculations, the impact generated energy around 1,000 times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Imagine what would have happened if it has actually impacted the ground.

The asteroid this week will not be visible to the naked eye, but a good pair of binoculars should do the trick. According to Dr. Brown, ”You’ll be able to see it pass from the constellation Leo to roughly the Plough, more or less from anywhere in the UK, and it will be bright for about an hour.”