February 14th, 2013
12:39 PM ET

Will the asteroid affect cell-phone service?

The likely answer to all of your doomsday-ish questions about the asteroid is NO.

NASA scientists have repeatedly said that it is not possible for the asteroid approaching Friday to hit the Earth. But what about communication satellites?

On the asteroid's approach it will "enter and exit a ring of satellites approximately 22,300 miles above the Earth," said CNN meteorologist Sean Morris. According to current modeling of the asteroid's path, it will probably not affect the satellites.

These satellites include those used by television networks, cell phone services and weather services.

"Scientists have determined that it is very unlikely but not impossible that television signals, any other form of communication, or any weather data will be impacted by the asteroid," Morris said.

As for global positioning satellites, which communicate with the GPS function on smartphones, the asteroid will pass about 5,000 miles above them and probably won't interfere with navigational systems.

How to land on an asteroid

Objects as large as basketballs, with paths even more difficult to track than the asteroid approaching Friday, pass through the same area every day and don't cause a disturbance.

The asteroid, measuring 150 feet across and weighing 130,000 metric tons, will be 17,200 miles from Earth at its closest proximity. Its speed will be about 4.8 miles per second.

The Space Data Association has said that none of the spacecraft it monitors will be impacted, Morris said.

More: Saving Earth from asteroids

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Filed under: In Space
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Jeremy Elliott

    I giggled a bit at morgans comment

    July 27, 2013 at 3:12 am |
  2. Clint Fegles

    A phone system comprises multiple telephones used in an interconnected fashion that allows for advanced telephony features such as call handling and transferring, conference calling, call metering and accounting, private and shared voice message boxes, and so on. A telephone system can range from just a few telephones in a home or small business up to a complex private branch exchange (PBX) system used by mid-sized and large businesses.'

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    April 14, 2013 at 9:04 am |
  3. Why should i o it

    Thanks for the great article.. Why should i o it http://asdasdmasda.com

    February 21, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  4. Tony R

    Watch LIVE when NASA Follows Asteroid Flyby TODAY! Go to TVDevo "dot" "com"

    February 15, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  5. myway

    Instead of spending the enormous pile of cash used for defending ourselves from each other, perhaps we should use it to defend our planet from lifeless intruders. Of course that only makes sense if we avoid poisoning ourselves to death due to unloading our toxic garbage into the environment.

    February 15, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  6. amg503

    "...or any weather data will be impacted by the asteroid..."

    Perhaps "impacted" isn't the proper word when dealing with massive pieces of space rock hurdling past the Earth. "Affected" might be better.

    February 15, 2013 at 6:19 am |
  7. rikki liman

    upto I looked at the receipt which was of $9219, I didnt believe that my friends brother woz like actualey receiving money part-time on their computer.. there mums best friend haz done this for less than 9 months and at present repayed the mortgage on their villa and purchased a brand new Chevrolet. we looked here......... BIT40.ℂOℳ

    February 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  8. RonB in SC

    What about the space station?????

    February 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Chris

      The space station is only about 250 miles above the surface of the Earth. The asteroid will not even come close.

      February 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • david2261

      It better not...I enjoy seeing it pass by in the evening skys...seen it many times but still love it!

      February 14, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  9. Dr. Spock

    Wow, CNN are you this stupid? Cell phones use towers and intercommunicate via fiber optic networks digital voice packets. Satellites this far out have to much latency to be used for cell phone connections. Your mixing this up with satellite phones. Just another CNN trying to make up something it knows nothing about.

    February 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Zoop

      You are wrong about latency. Comunitcations satellites are 22,500 miles up (from article). The speed of light is 186,282 miles per second. For a signal to go to a satellite and back would take about .25 seconds. A quater second is only noticable if you can see the persons mouth moving in real time (out of lip-sync). The signal will take longer to go through all of the encoders involved.

      The reason we don't use satellites for personal comunication is mostly that satellite time is too expensive. It also takes a much larger transmitter to get to space, which is why sat phones are so much larger than the cell phone in your pocket.

      February 15, 2013 at 8:42 am |
  10. Boo

    I'd love to see everyone's cell phone die...it would be hysterical watching these poor little sheep try to function without one....

    February 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Rajnah

      Right there with ya.

      February 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Canada Dry

      Dear Boo,
      If my daughter's cell phone died, she would become extremely grumpy. I would send her to your house!!

      February 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • sb

      Especially the police and fire departments and hospitals. Cell phones aren't just toys for the rich and clueless, they are integral to professions that help everyone.

      February 14, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
      • Saiko

        I wouldn't rely on police or firefighters using cell phones for business purposes, instead of more proper solutions. Unless you mean notifying them about incidents by members of general population. Then yes, cell phones make it a bit easier than before they were introduced on mass scale.

        February 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  11. A. G. Bell

    If only we could be so lucky.

    February 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  12. highroute

    "These satellites include those used by television networks, cell phone services and weather services." No, cellular phones make use of terrestrial antennas. You see them everywhere. Those antennas are connected by wires, cables, or microwave links to the landline phone system. It is SATELLITE PHONES that make use of satellites.

    February 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • John

      Technically, cell phones use some of these satellites as well, but only as part of the broader telephone system. But yeah, your hand-held cell phone doesn't quite have the range to reach a geo-synchronous satellite. They can't even reach towers more than a couple miles away, most of the time.

      February 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  13. E.T.

    If their is a asteroid heading our way, How come we are not testing any technology to change its course? even dough it wont it us.

    February 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • That would cost money ...

      I can just see it now ... high-level politician says we can try out testing a deflection system.

      Other politicians scream about how we're wasting money on something that has less chance of happening than the same person hitting the Mega Millions one night and then the Powerball the next.

      February 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • ?

      If the asteroid is as close as they say it is, changing it's course could be very dangerous. What if they changed it, and then it did hit us?

      February 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
      • Rajnah

        Sounds about right.

        February 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  14. Art

    No, they are inhabited by woosoudolms and they are not hackers.

    February 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  15. Greg Faith

    Only if it hits it while it is pressed against your ear.

    February 14, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  16. Mister Pold

    But what if the astroid stops and asks to speak to the humpback whales? Will it affect cell phone service then?

    February 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  17. Blinded by Science

    There should be little or no interference by the asteroid unless it hits satellite. If that happens you will here a little voice like HAL which says please call back I am about to be hit by an asteroid.

    February 14, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  18. Paul

    Were it other than NASA scientists – I might be a little more confident.

    February 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jesus Christ Superstar

      Yeah... Because nothing says "untrustworthy" more than NASA SCIENTIST...

      February 14, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Morgan

      Well there was that one time back in the 90's when NASA crashed the mars orbiter because they didn't have the correct units of DISTANCE.....

      February 14, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
      • Michael

        miles, kilometers, same thing... =)

        February 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm |

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