The huge asteroid 2005 YU55 will sweep closely past the Earth – missing us by 319,000 kilometers (about 200,000 miles) – tomorrow. It’ll be the closest known passage of an asteroid this big – but there was an even closer passage to Earth of this same asteroid in 1976, which went undetected. This time, astronomers spotted it ahead of time.
On this November 8, 2011 passage, 2005 YU55 will come closer than the moon’s distance from Earth, but it will not strike Earth or the moon.
The time of closest passage will be November 8 at 5:28 p.m. CST (23:28 UTC).
Russia is considering a project to launch a spaceship to try to divert a large asteroid from hitting Earth after 2030, the head of the country’s space program said today.
Anatoly Perminov, head of Roscosmos, tells Voice of Russia radio that Moscow may invite experts from Europe, the United States and China to join the project aimed at thwarting the menacing asteroid Apophis.
“People’s lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and design a system that would prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people,” Perminov says, according to RIA Novosti news agency.
He says it is his understanding that the 850-foot asteroid “will surely collide with the Earth in the 2030s.”