Large asteroid to pass close by Earth
Pasadena, Calif. (UPI) May 3, 2011
Astronomers say they're readying their instruments to observe an aircraft carrier-sized asteroid that will come closer to Earth than our own moon does.
It will be a spectacular research opportunity, they say, but won't pose any threat to Earth, SPACE.com reported Tuesday.
There's no danger of a possible impact when the asteroid 2005 YU55 makes its closest approach Nov. 8, coming within 201,700 miles of Earth, scientists said.
However, the proximity will give them a chance to study it in detail, they said.
"While near-Earth objects of this size have flown within a lunar distance in the past, we did not have the foreknowledge and technology to take advantage of the opportunity," Barbara Wilson, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said. "When it flies past, it should be a great opportunity for science instruments on the ground to get a good look."
Astronomers at the University of Arizona in Tucson discovered the asteroid, about 1,300 feet across, in 2005.
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Dawn Reaches Milestone Approaching Asteroid Vesta
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 04, 2011
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has reached its official approach phase to the asteroid Vesta and will begin using cameras for the first time to aid navigation for an expected July 16 orbital encounter. The large asteroid is known as a protoplanet - a celestial body that almost formed into a planet. At the start of this three-month final approach to this massive body in the asteroid belt, Dawn is 1 ... read more
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