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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Giant Crosses Near Earth Asteroid ... If Serempet, Can Cause Earthquakes 7 SR

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, CALIFORNIA - An asteroid about the size of an aircraft will pass the Earth within a distance of eight-tenths of the distance of the moon. This is the closest distance to Earth of the objects of this size in 30 years.

The shortest distance will occur on Tuesday at 18:28 ET (tomorrow morning GMT) when the asteroid is in a distance of 202 thousand kilometers of our planet, NASA said.

The U.S. space agency's asteroid is classified as "potentially hazardous objects."

If the asteroid were to hit Earth, it can cause the 4000 megaton explosion and earthquake 7.0 on the Richter scale, according to scientists at Purdue University. If it falls into the ocean, can cause a tsunami as high as 70 feet to 60 miles from the crash site, experts say.

However, space rock, called Asteroid 2005 YU55, does not pose a threat of collision with Earth, according to NASA's Near Earth Object Program.

NASA plans to study the asteroid with the Goldstone radar antenna in the Mojave Desert of California. Goldstone antenna is a very sensitive radio telescope that is used to investigate quasars, radar mapping of planets and comets.

The scientists plan to reconstruct the asteroid shape with a smooth resolution of 13 feet (4 meters) by using an antenna. Observations are also scheduled at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

It also will provide a rare opportunity for amateur astronomers to directly observe the asteroid with optical telescopes.

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