Monday, November 7, 2011

'Close to You' Asteroid Reminds Us How Fragile We Are

This is exciting because for the first time since 1976, the Earth will rendezvous closely with a large celestial body hereby christened on this blog the 'close to you' asteroid.  Tomorrow asteroid 2005 YU will sweep by Earth at 3:28 PM PCT Tuesday, November 8th, giving astronomer enthusiasts a thrill of a lifetime.  This particular asteroid last visited earth 200 years ago.

The quarter mile wide asteroid will be so close that it will pass between the earth and moon!  Just think what a rare event this really is, to have such a large object come so close to earth. I love these astral events because when they occur it reminds people on earth of the bigger picture of the universe they belong.
"It is the first time since 1976 that an object of this size has passed this closely to the Earth. It gives us a great -- and rare -- chance to study a near-Earth object like this," astronomer Scott Fisher, a program director with the National Science Foundation, said on Thursday during a Web chat with reporters.

The orbit and position of the asteroid, which is about 1,312 feet (400 meters) in diameter, is well known, added senior research scientist Don Yeomans, with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "There is no chance that this object will collide with the Earth or moon," Yeomans said.  - Reuters
Some are wondering if the asteroid will bring any debris with it that could possibly cause fireballs to appear in the sky.
Asteroids don't get much attention compared to planets and stars. They don't have the same flashy features, such as Jupiter's red spot, Saturn's rings or the ice volcanoes of the moon Enceladus. But while they may be small, asteroids, along with comets, are the only celestial objects that can hit our planet. And they have hit us many times in the past, sometimes with life- changing results. - Another Close Call For Earth - CBC.ca

 Asteroid Aftermath-Dinosaur Extinction - Discovery Channel

Indeed, asteroids can be a dramatic life changing event to reset and affect evolution on earth. Had it not been for an asteroid hitting Earth millions of years ago, dinosaurs would still roam the planet and humans may not have ever emerged at all.  Asteroids can be beneficial in the long term while being very destructive in the short term clearing out the old and bringing in the new.  Regardless, life always finds a way to overcome death and destruction.