November 3, 2011 by staff
Asteroid C-type, An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will expand the Earth on Tuesday, just inside the orbit of the moon. The space rock poses no danger as its closest approach will be a comfortable 202,000 miles distant. However, the event marks the closest flyby of an asteroid of this size since 1976, according to NASA.
Scientists are eager to study the nearly round, slowly rotating piece of space junk known as asteroid 2005 YU55 as it flies by at some 30,000 mph.
Beginning Friday, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA will ping the asteroid is approaching a radar to map craters and rocks, while refining the estimates of the asteroid’s trajectory, which rotates inside the orbit of Venus and Mars close, crossing the orbit of the Earth.
Scientists already know that it is a “type C” of asteroids, loaded with coal and silicate minerals. Astronomers look for signs of water.
Similar asteroids that have fallen to Earth – called carbonaceous chondrites – hold within them amino acids and other building blocks of life.
NASA and 5 million per year from the asteroid tracking program has detected more than 90 percent of “planet murderer” asteroids, larger than a kilometer in diameter.
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