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Quarter Mile Asteroid Passing Between Earth and Moon Tuesday

Asteroid 255 YU55 will pass between the earth and the moon on Tuesday. The object is the larger than an aircraft carrier and would cause significant damage if it struck either our planet or the moon.

Predictably, it has become the subject of internet rumors that its orbit has changed and that it might therefore hit the moon. There is not the slightest actual evidence that anything like this has happened. Dan Yeomans, the director of NASA's Near Earth Object Program has said, "We're extremely confident, 100 percent confident, that this is not a threat."

Science writer Richard C. Hoagland said on Francis Walsh's Collision Course radio program that "this darn thing doesn't look like any asteroid I've ever seen." He continued that "it looks like something out of StarWars."

Hoagland further stated that the object will pass the earth at "50,000 miles" but will not strike the planet. NASA has said that its closest approach will take place Tuesday at 6:28 PM EST, and will pass no closer than 202,000 miles. Hoagland continued, "This thing could either impact the moon or it could be a really close flyby."

NASA's calculations indicate that YU55 will pass the moon at a distance of 150,000 miles and has no chance of striking the moon at all. To read NASA's detailed description of YU55's trajectory, click here.

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