It's happening again: A near-Earth asteroid named 2005 YU55, which is on the list of potentially dangerous asteroids, was observed with the Arecibo Telescope's planetary radar on April 19, 2010 when it was about 1.5 million miles from the Earth, which is about 6 times the distance to the moon. Will there be an impact? Will someone help prevent this potential catastrophe?
It may hit us sometime in the future, but not in this century. This asteroid is about 1,300 feet in size (about a quarter-mile long) and about twice as large as previously estimated and is on some lists of potentially hazardous asteroids. However, Arecibo radar imaging has reduced uncertainties about its orbit by 50%, eliminating any possibility of an impact with the Earth for the next 100 years, and it has been removed from NASA's "Risk Page."
After circling the Sun, 2005 YU55 will next approach the Earth on Nov. 8, 2011, but it will pose no impact hazard at that time. President Obama has proposed that NASA's "Near Earth Object Observations" program be increased from $3.7 million in 2009 to $20.3 million in 2011 so we can keep track of these potential impacts.
Meanwhile, BBC News reports that ice has been observed on another asteroid named Themis. Researchers think this indicates that not only did LIFE reach earth from an asteroid, WATER did too. So while space rocks are a threat to life on Earth, they also created it.
Some of the things we do really make an impact. For instance, we had a delightful explosion of INFORMATION in Nashville last summer and if you want to find out what your favorite Dreamland hosts are thinking this year, then be sure to join us on June 25-27 for a thought-provoking good time!
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Art credit: Dreamstime.com
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