On February 15, 2013, an asteroid will come close enough to Earth to knock satellites out of orbit

January 9, 2013SPACE - Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) 2012 DA14 has its annual flyby of the earth on February 15, 2013. Its projected orbit, according to NASA, will bring it well within the orbits of geosynchronous satellites currently orbiting our planet. NASA has indicated that there is no danger of this asteroid impacting our planet, however they have not ruled out our gravity changing the asteroids orbital pattern. NEA 2012 DA 14 was discovered on February 23, 2012 by the Observatorio Astronómico de Mallorca (OAM), near the Spanish city of La Sagra. According to NASA’s Near Earth Object Program, NEO, the asteroid will pass the earth at a distance of 21,000 miles, putting the asteroid’s trajectory in between the earth and the satellites orbiting our planet. Geosynchronous satellites orbiting our planet orbit at a distance of roughly 26,200 miles above the earth. Geostationary orbiting objects orbit at a distance of roughly 22,236 miles above the Earth’s equator. These objects are considered to be in High Earth Orbit (HEO). Any object in space considered to be in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is approximately 1250 miles above the equator. The term Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) refers to an orbiting object approximately 12,500 miles above the Earth’s equator, in between objects in an LEO and a HEO, geosynchronous orbit.
With Near Earth Asteroid 2012 DA 14′s flyby falling somewhere in between geosynchronous satellite orbit, and objects orbiting in a Medium Earth Orbit pattern, the potential for this NEO impacting other objects orbiting our planet appears to be almost guaranteed. Could one of these objects be impacted by the asteroid and then be propelled back into our atmosphere? The chance of this happening is low, and NASA has not indicated if this potential happenstance will occur. Asteroid 2012 DA 14 has an estimated diameter of about 45 meters, and a mass of roughly 130,000 metric tons, making it a medium-sized asteroid. If Asteroid DA 14 were to impact the Earth, it would do so with the energy of 2.4 Megatons. Additionally NASA estimates the closest it can get to the earth will be 17,000 miles above the equator. NASA continually tracks these asteroids, through their Near Earth Object Program (NEO) in association with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer program (WISE) searches the skies of our solar system making observations in an effort to assess Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA) orbiting close to our planet. Potentially hazardous asteroids are a smaller subset of the larger group called the Near Earth Asteroids (NEA) that have close orbits to the Earth’s and are big enough to survive passing through our atmosphere and causing damage of great proportions. The asteroid hunting portion of the WISE program is called NEOWISE. “The NEOWISE analysis shows us we’ve made a good start at finding those objects that truly represent an impact hazard to earth,” said Lindley Johnson, program executive for the Near Earth Object Observation Program at NASA. “But we’ve many more to find, and it will take a concerted effort during the next couple of decades to find all of them that could do serious damage or being mission destination in the future. NASA’s NEOWISE project, which wasn’t originally planned as part of WISE, has turned out to be a huge bonus,” said Amy Mainzer, NEOWISE principal investigator, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California. “Everything we can learn about these projects helps us understand their origins and fate. Our team was surprised to find the over abundance of low inclination PHA’s. Because they will tend to make more close approaches to earth, these targets can provide the best opportunities for the next generation of human and robotic exploration.” Pres. Obama has called for NASA to access an asteroid in orbit for the purposes of exploring ways to divert its orbit away from the earth in the event of a potential impact. A new project, initiated by scientists at California’s Institute for Space Studies, would put an asteroid into orbit around the Earth’s moon, giving us the ability to study it from a closer distance then the asteroids standard orbit. The majority of asteroids orbiting in our solar system do so in the main asteroid belt, between the planets Mars and Jupiter. –Guardian

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47 Responses to On February 15, 2013, an asteroid will come close enough to Earth to knock satellites out of orbit

  1. Oh Well the only thing I hve been told is for people to pray and see it passing this earth safely

    • aulapay says:

      If I can’t use my phone,the internet or an Atm, I will pray and only make a weekly bridge payment to my cricket service. Don’t want to waste money on services I won’t be recieving.Oh yeah, and I only want a minimal amount of cash left at the bank since they won’t be opening. Probably will be missing some work too since all activities there revolve around pulling up paperwork from the computer. This could put a serious crimp on grocery shopping, gas, communications;etc. Time to prepare is NOW.

  2. Louise Page says:

    Now…I am no scientist or one with such knowledge, but could this also ‘bump’ into space junk floating around out there too? Satellites are one thing, but I wonder what else it could impact on its’ fly-by?

  3. Priscilla says:

    Hey that’s my birthday! I get my own asteroid? Cool.

  4. Irene C says:

    This could be interesting. We’ll just have to wait and see if this passes by without any damage.

  5. destiny5756 says:

    does anyone believe that if it were to strike the planet they would tell us ?

    • Robert says:

      no they wouldnt bring to many people would freak out !

      • Michael Thompson says:

        They wouldn’t say a thing, it would create to much chaos in the world! A simple and yet comforting cover up story should do the trick, it has in the past!

    • Debbie Clark says:

      Exactly ! I would have to say No, maybe just before it gets pulled in they might..

      • Joseph t. Repas says:

        ….and lucky 13 news has this breaking story….It turns out NASA was wrong and the asteroid is only moments awayfrom hitting a major city in the USA….We’ll have the name of that cityfor you right after these words from our many sponsors…

  6. elijahsmom3 says:

    Alvin,
    Being the non-scientific person that I am….could this asteroid coming so close have any affect on tides or anything of that nature, or is it too small?

  7. mommabhappy says:

    Alvin, have you seen or heard anything about this astroid possibly splitting up and hitting earth? When I surf for info on this I see where there are some saying it was said by NASA back when it was discovered this is what will happen between the 15th and 16th of Feb. knowing there are SO many hoaxes it would be nice if things were confirmed :/
    And what the heck is this about Obama telling NASA to catch an astroid? And pulling it into the moon? Could that be a good move?

    • M

      I have not heard anything of that. NASA is pursuing two things vehemently right now; one is detecting and deflecting asteroids and the other is searching the proximity of space for habitable zones and planets. I think that speaks volumes about how tenuous and fragile they feel life is on this earth, and the threats are growing daily, as our technology exposes more of the cosmos and world to us.

  8. Morgean says:

    Alvin and all,
    I watch the moon every night and morning and it surely is not ‘behaving’ as the moon is expected. Yesterday and today, at minutes before 7am (New Mexico) it is just above the horizon (maybe 30 degrees) in the EAST/SOUTHEAST. The day before it was directly above me at 7am. There are many that believe it is a satellite – if so, that might be why. If not, why is the sun coming up right next to it? Many thanks for all you do, Morgean

    • Louise Page says:

      I thought a similar thing Morgean. I said to my daughter that the moon was ‘rising’ ( couple of nights ago) in a more south easterly position than I expected it to. I don’t have much knowledge regarding the ‘positions’ and expected movements of the planets, moons and stars, so this may have been a ‘normal’ occurrence – somebody with such knowledge may be able to explain our query here.
      Cheers.

      • Joseph t. Repas says:

        Hi Louise and Morgean! Both the moon and sun rise and set at a different spot and time on the horizon everyday. The sun’s daily change is much more gradual especially as you near the equator. near the poles it is much more pronounced. For example at 45degrees N. Lattitude which is half way between the equator and the north pole the sun rises on the day of the winter solstice [ Dec.21 ] in the south east and it sets in the southwest. At the northpole it does not rise at all. At the equinoxes ; March 21 and September 21 at 45degrees N. the sun rises due east on the horizon and sets due west, and at the north pole and is above the horizon for 12 hours at each location but is higher in the sky at 45 N. and at the summer solstice at 45 N. the sun rises in the northeast and sets in the northwest and is very high in the sky. At the northpole it does not set! But is lower in the sky. Now as for the moon it takes nearly a calendar month to ” revolve ” as it dances with the Earth around the Sun but always keeps it’s ” face ” side towards earth, but as it does everymonth it has a high position in it’s ” orbit” and a low position in it’s ” orbit”, that is every month it has a time of riding high in the sky and a time each month for riding low in the sky, and also each month a time of perigee [ closest ] and a time for apogee [ farthest ] from the earth and each month is a little different. The timing of the phases of the moon along with it’s height has some effect on the weather and generally the moon is rising about 70 minutes later each night at this time at 45 N. Lattitude. Hope this helps!

  9. Joseph t. Repas says:

    First of all I would like to quote the great Alfred E. Neuman of Mad magazine cover fame who said, ” What, me worry? “…..but also, there are two comets coming by this year and I am reminded of the Hopi prophecy that says that a dwelling place in the sky will fall to Earth[ could it hit the ISS?] Space Weather .com has a tab for checking out what sattlelites are viewable at your location.. and that there would be a comet with two tails shortly before America is brought to catastrophe…Please note NOT end of the world prophecy…but an end of an era before a rebuilding of civilization….we will have to pray and watch but these are certainly Biblical times.

    • Dr Edward Corchit says:

      At 45 deg N latitude, the sun never rises or sets north of due east or west because the angle of inclination of the planet is only 23.5 deg, therefore at 45 deg. north latitude, the sun would always be rising and setting south of due east and west…check your astronomy “knowledge” again or just call a local astronomy PhD for verification.

      That is the reason why the Tropics and Cancer and Capricorn are significant they are both 23 degrees from the equator and so on June 21 the sun rises and sets due east and west THERE and is directly overhead at noon…for all points north (or south) of these locations the sun is never directly overhead.

      • Joseph t. Repas says:

        Hi Dr. Edward Corchit ! Sorry sir but I think you misread my statement that you commented on in your first paragraph of your reply. At 45 degree latitude the sun does RISE north of due east and SETS north of due west between about March 21 to about September 21, however it always remains south at midday as you mentioned in your second paragraph for the exact reason that you gave…Now of course at the north pole on June 21 the sun does not set…it goes all the way around the horizon, yet you are still correct when you say that in the northern hemisphere the sun always peaks in height south of the apex because at the north pole the only direction you can travel is south.

  10. paddie says:

    If it is going to hit the earth why not do it on april 15th just sayin

  11. sunwatcher says:

    If NASA pha program is so complex as effective why it was discovered only last year… And by Spanish institution?

  12. Cameron says:

    We’re doomed…

  13. v sedo says:

    If it hits the earth. What Damage and where would it hit.

  14. Ted says:

    Looks like Britain is in the potential impact zone.

  15. RPogue says:

    They have established that this asteroid is an annual occurence, but just discovering it last year… twice is a pattern? It must have a name plate on it that indicates it is the same one… you know because they don’t look the same way out there or anything. Seriously though, the reports I am reading state that they are certian it will not impact Earth, but they do not know what impact Earth’s gravity will have on its trajectory… my questions is this? How far away was it last time it passed – anyone remember hearing about this one passing at 21,000 miles or more? My point is that is scientists are correct, the Earth will pull it even closer when it passes so the next time it travels passed us, it may be at 10,000 miles, then 5,000 miles… you get where I am coming from? Isn’t it just a matter of time before this thing hits us? The mayans were wrong – but maybe they were just off a bit in the calendar of time….

  16. Chris says:

    Anyone know if you will be able to see this thing pass over head. I know it will be during the day, but where is the best place to see it? I live in MA, USA.

  17. David says:

    “With Near Earth Asteroid 2012 DA 14′s flyby falling somewhere in between geosynchronous satellite orbit, and objects orbiting in a Medium Earth Orbit pattern, the potential for this NEO impacting other objects orbiting our planet appears to be almost guaranteed. ” – Almost guaranteed? Er no. As a betting man I’d say its almost a dead cert that it WON’T hit anything. Put on a blindfold, spin yourself round three times and shoot off your rifle. What are your chances of shooting a bird out of the sky? Better than this rock will hit anything.

    • katnea says:

      David, I’ve read that there are thousands of communication satellites in orbit? IF this asteroid takes out several satellites… we could be in for a world of hurt as well!
      As far as astroides hitting the Earth — Its not about ‘If’ but ‘when’ it will take place imho. However, I’m more concerned with a major Solar or man made HEMP/EMP event then any asteroid impact to Earth. Either way…its always best to PREPARE for any game changing event(s) to come. The signs are everywhere that this is NOT business as usual…eh?
      BTW – Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is an intense electromagnetic field that can instantly overload electrical circuits in a wide area. According to a report via the National Academy of Sciences, a severe geomagnetic storm could cause economic damage of $1- $2 trillion in the first year, with 4 to 10 years until full recovery. NASA also said that Carrington-class solar flares occur about once per century. Their report warns that a severe flare could occur any time, causing long duration, catastrophic failure of our vital electric infrastructures. (Eeep!)
      Having said that…. I’ve always wondered what’s up with the “Schuman Resonance” (aka Earths heartbeat) rising dramatically? For DECADES the overall measurement was 7.8 cycles per second. Recent reports set the rate at over 11 cycles, and climbing! Science has no clue what to make of it and I sure don’t! (hah) Perhaps,this ‘SR’ change has something to do with Earths climate changes to our planet? Who knows… eh? ; )

  18. Leon says:

    Whatever… Ain’t nuttin gona happen to anythin or anybOdy. Just another exciting flyby meteroid. Let us just all enjoy it for yrs to come. Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care…

    • Debbie says:

      LIKE your reply. I just wanted to say and this isn’t meant for you but, I don’t want to use any names. They’re seems to be some replies in which people need to read what they posted before they hit send. I just read a post and it didn’t make any sense at all, somebody must have been smoking something. This is a interesting site hope some of these peps don’t ruin it for us.

    • katnea says:

      Way to go with your deductive reasoning and Jimmy Crack Corn attitude! This asteroid MAY come close enough to knock out worldwide communication systems and that will be bad enough! No communications = Baaaaad news Jimmy the Corn cracker! Folks will panic! In fact… I wouldn’t be surprised if all the “Jimmy Crack Corns” aren’t found out in the fields trying to find some cracked Corn to eat IF this asteroid takes out our communication satellites?! Is “Jimmy” aware of Martial Law that would go into effect depending on the degree of damage created by this lil astreroid event? “Facts don’t cease to exist just because they are ignored.”– Huxley,Aldous.

      Commercial space applications (aka satellites) are vitally important to the prosperity, economic well-being, and overall confidence of the business climate worldwide! Space applications such as: television broadcast, telecommunications, navigation, and computer network timing, cash from ATMs, and/or buy gas via pay-at-the-pump, utilities, agriculture, and power generation and will impact the United States economy severely if not available! Also having and maintaining space superiority is militarily important because space assets multiply combat effects across all spectrums as well! The revenue from space commerce topped $137 BILLION back in 2009 alone! So what does that tell you Jimmy the corn cracker who could cares less? (phifft)

      I for one appreciate all the heads-up information supplied here on this website! It IS because of this website that I follow the old adage “Hope for the best and PREPARE for the worst!” Is it not better to stock up on food and supplies just in case? Your attitude of “Whatever… Ain’t nuttin gona happen to anything or anybody. Just another exciting flyby meteoroid. Let us just all enjoy it for yrs to come.” baffles my mind?! Oh look! Here comes all the “Jimmy Crack Corns” who didn’t PREPARE for major type events and is now starving! (sigh)

  19. CaptainVic says:

    Military remote views an arbitrary date of June 1 Look at the FARSIGHT INSTITUTE 2013 earth change experiment ). 68 ideograms of 13 earth locations show that something god awful happened to mankind ! The gov has known of this event since 73. Once you see you will understand why when the gov crawls out of the 138 dumbs three years later they don’t want the population armed They till want to rule us like the Reptilians they made deals with three times ! Bend over and Kiss yur &$$ byby cause it is not pretty ! And the views show all metal rusted ,.humans behind electric fences nude ! Bitter cold nothing grows ,.. So Du14 looks like its lines up with the right time frame ,. This study released in 08. They don’t make mistakes when 80% returned the views on a level 3 accuracy and the date viewed was dbl encrypted !! They were looking at a simple science question and they all (I.e major dames students for twenty years ) turned in what you about to see on those decoded encryptions ! I will be holding on to a life boat on that night because that may be the “biGone”

  20. professor hops says:

    Darn,I wish Bruce Willis didnt die on that last asteroid!

  21. Harriet Hammell says:

    sooner or later one is gonna hit…

  22. daniel says:

    im prayin it dont hit

  23. does this happen every year.

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