Meet the Asteroid That Could Smash Into Earth in 2880
There are over 10,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs) that have been identified so far, asteroids and comets of varying sizes that approach the Earth’s orbital distance to within about 28 million miles (45 million km). Of the 10,000 discoveries, roughly 10 percent are larger than six-tenths of a mile (one kilometer) in size – large enough to have disastrous global consequences should one impact the Earth.
This is one of them.
First discovered in February 1950, 1950 DA is a 1.1-km-wide asteroid that was observed for 17 days and then disappeared from view. Then it was spotted again on Dec. 31, 2000 — literally the eve of the 21st century. Coupled with radar observations a few weeks later, in March 2001, it was found that, along with a rather high rotation rate (2.1 hours) asteroid 1950 DA has a trajectory that will bring it very close to Earth on March 16, 2880. How close? Close enough that, within a specific 20-minute window, a collision can not be entirely ruled out.
The image above was made from radar observations by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico in March 2001, when 1950 DA passed within 7.8 million km of Earth. Are we looking at the mug shot of a future continent-killer?
Continue reading about this BAMFPHA at Lights In The Dark….