NASA scientists are keeping an eye on a large asteroid that they believe could possibly smash into earth in February 2013.
Data shows the 60-meter asteroid (2012 DA14), which was spotted by Spanish stargazers last February, will pass by Earth in 11 months. While the asteroid’s exact trajectory is unknown, the scientists believe that it will pass very close to the planet. There is a possibility that it could collide with earth, but further calculation is required to estimate the potential threat and work out how to avert possible disaster.
According to RT, NASA expert Dr. David Dunham told students at Moscow’s University of Electronics and Mathematics (MIEM):
“The Earth’s gravitational field will alter the asteroid’s path significantly. Further scrupulous calculation is required to estimate the threat of collision. The asteroid may break into dozens of small pieces, or several large lumps may split from it and burn up in the atmosphere. The type of the asteroid and its mineral structure can be determined by spectral analysis. This will help predict its behavior in the atmosphere and what should be done to prevent the potential threat.”
Scientists say that the energy released in the event of a collision would equate to the destructive power of a thermo-nuclear bomb.