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February 16, 2013

Asteroid buzzes, misses Earth — unlike meteor

(Continued)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —

If a killer asteroid was, indeed, incoming, a spacecraft could, in theory, be launched to nudge the asteroid out of Earth’s way.

, changing its speed and the point of intersection. A second spacecraft would make a slight alteration in the path of the asteroid and ensure it never intersects with the planet again, Schweickart said.

Asteroid DA14 — discovered by Spanish astronomers only last February — is “such a close call” that it is a “celestial torpedo across the bow of spaceship Earth,” Schweickart said in a phone interview Thursday.

NASA’s deep-space antenna in California’s Mojave Desert was ready to collect radar images, but not until eight hours after the closest approach given the United States’ poor positioning for the big event.

————

Online:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/asteroidflyby.html

B612 Foundation: http://b612foundation.org/

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