A giant asteroid will pass so close to Earth later this year, that amateur astronomers will be able to spot it with just a small telescope.
The 55-million tones of Asteroid YU55 is a quarter of a mile across and will pass between Earth and our cosmic neighbor the Moon during the month of November 2011.
YU55 is actually listed on the hazardous space objects list produced by NASA, yet NASA are playing down fears that YU55 could actually smash into the Earth.
If YU55 did hit our planet it is speculated that it would leave a huge amount of destruction equal to around 69,000 atom bombs. It would also create a crater roughly 6-miles wide and over 2000 feet deep, and depending on where the asteroid hit could cause possible or even almost certain extinctions.
There are hundreds of objects close to Earth in space that are listed as hazardous ‘” approximately 850 with more being added as they are discovered.
NASA plan to send men to visit an asteroid in the near future, and are currently training for such a mission on the ocean floor – NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations, also known as NEEMO 15.
NASA have scheduled a 10-day simulated mission for October 2011, where teams will be over 60 feet below the surface of the sea ‘” practicing various anchoring techniques and other scenarios that will happen when astronauts do actually land on a passing comet or asteroid.
YU55 is the largest object to pass so close to Earth in modern times, it will pass just 201,000 miles away, and should be a fantastic opportunity for amateur astronomers to study such a rare event.
However NASA have stressed that there is no danger that YU55 is on a collision coarse with our planet, but have also admitted in the past that they do not have accurate figures as to how close the object could come if there was a slight change in YU55’s path.
There is a strong belief by many theorists that YU55 could possible smash into our planet causing a vast amount of damage, and other theories speculate that events such as violent weather patterns and super destructive earthquakes could be sparked by the asteroid passing so close by.
To many conspiracy theorist a worrying statement was issued by NEEMO Project Manager Bill Todd, in which he said: “There may be asteroids that we don’t even know about yet that we’ll be visiting. So we’re figuring out the best way to do that.”
This statement had theorist speculating that NASA are indeed worried about an approaching asteroid that could hit our planet, and are gearing up for a possible asteroid landing like that one in the 1998 science fiction film Armageddon which starred Bruce Willis who helped destroy a large asteroid that would have created an extinction scenario on Earth.