NASA’s EYES allows everyone to track in almost Real Time, space objects including the Asteroid 2012 DA14 which passed us on Feb 15.
Asteroid 2012 DA14 passed Earth on Feb 15 2013. At approximately 14:25 it reached its closest point to the Earth. NASA’s calculation was spot on. They knew that even the our satellites would be safe.
One point which should not be forgotten, is that any object which crosses Earth’s path will eventually one day hit Earth itself. The next time that there might be a chance of an impact, with the Feb 15 2013 Asteroid, will be in 2080.
It is thought that if an Asteroid was further away from Earth than our Moon, there was nothing worry about. The Feb 15 2013 Asteroid visit came closer to Earth than our geosynchronous weather and communications satellites. Because it came so close, it’s trajectory will have been affected by Earth’s gravitational field. NASA will have to calculate a new trajectory and so they are keeping watch of this Asteroid using a Radar Telescope over the next few days.
Thanks to the Asteroid visit, I learned that NASA has an interesting space simulation called Eyes Of The Solar System. You can follow the trajectory of the Asteroid as it passed Earth and beyond. There is also a “Ride-Along” feature which give you the view of Earth from the Asteroid. You can also follow NASA spacecraft from on-going missions and other objects in space. An amazing web-based simulation.
The URL to the NASA site is http://eyes.nasa.gov You can also get there by clicking on: NASA EYES.
The image to the left is just a screen capture of NASA’s EYES front page. You have to visit NASA’s site.