The earth had a close encounter with an object from outer space last month, the kind of heavenly body that could really spoil your day if it lands in your neighborhood.
Asteroid 2012 DA 14 came to within 17,000 miles of earth as it flew by our planet in February.
That sounds like a long way away but it’s rather close in space terms, according to scientists interviewed in a Science in Action video posted on the California Academy of Sciences website.
The rock was about 160 feet in size, average for an asteroid, scientists said.
Researchers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory discovered the asteroid last year and tracked its path or trajectory.
They make observations of space objects like comets or asteroids and mathematically project where the object will be in 100 years. That’s plenty of advanced notice if something big is hurtling our way.
A comet or asteroid that strikes our planet could bring about major destruction, scientists say.
In 1908 a huge explosion thought to be caused by a collision with an object from outer space devastated an area near the Tunguska River in Russia.
The blast, which occurred from three to six miles above the earth, flattened 80 million trees in an 830 square mile area.
Siberian eyewitnesses spoke of the sky opening up and being knocked off their feet from the shock wave caused by the explosion.
But don’t start building an underground shelter yet.
Scientists say there are no objects in our celestial neighborhood that are a threat to Earth.
To view the video, visit calacademy.org/sciencetoday/asteroid-2012.
Eyewitness accounts of the Tunguska blast can be found at wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska event.