400-Metre Asteroid Flyby Due In Early November

Posted on October 26, 2011


A 1300-foot-wide (400 metres) asteroid, which is more than one and a half times the length of a soccer pitch, will pass within 0.85 lunar distances of the Earth on November 8/9, 2011. Discovered on December 28, 2005 by Robert McMillan of the Spacewatch Program near Tucson, Arizona, 2005 YU55 is believed to be a very dark, nearly spherical object. According to NASA’s Near Earth Object Program: “Although classified as a potentially hazardous object, 2005 YU55 poses no threat of an Earth collision over at least the next 100 years. However, this will be the closest approach to date by an object this large that we know about in advance and an event of this type will not happen again until 2028 when asteroid (153814) 2001 WN5 will pass to within 0.6 lunar distances.” While neither the European Space Agency (ESA) nor NASA has suggested that YU55 poses a threat to Earth, plans to develop a mission to counteract a potential asteroid collision in the future are already underway. The ESA is planning to fire an ‘impactor’ satellite into a ‘test’ asteroid in 2015 to see if the object’s trajectory can be altered. The Agency is conducting the test mission in light of the minimal threat posed by the 700-1100-foot-wide 99942 Apophis asteroid, which has a one in 250,000 chance of impacting Earth in 2036.

Irish Weather Online

From brainguff in in June:

In November of this year, YU55, a 55 million ton asteroid will pass the Earth at a distance of just over 200,000 miles. The space rock, which measures around a quarter of a mile in diameter, would have the effect of 65,000 atomic bombs and cause a crater 6 miles wide and 2000ft deep if it were to hit the Earth, although NASA say this will not happen based on its current trajectory. However, it is being monitored closely among the other 874 near-Earth asteroids that NASA see as a potential danger.

YU55 passed us last year at a distance of more than 1.5 million miles, making this years encounter a much closer one. The chances are, though, that the asteroid would plunge into the sun (which it orbits once every 14 years apparently) before it were to hit us.

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