Large asteroid zipping past Earth towing moon
May 31st, 2013
05:06 AM ET

Large asteroid zipping past Earth towing moon

An asteroid is whizzing past Earth on Friday - and it's traveling with its own moon in tow.

1998 QE2, as NASA has named it, will not come anywhere near enough to collide with our world.

The closest it will come is about 3.6 million miles away - that's over 15 times the distance to our moon. It will reach that point just before 5 p.m. ET.

But it's giving astronomers the "best look at this asteroid ever," NASA said.


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Filed under: Discoveries • In Space • News • Science Friday
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Katy

    There is one innovative science project going on. Check it, and tell to a friend!

    June 25, 2013 at 2:40 am |
  2. helenecha

    Are you sure that 1998 QE2 was traveling with its own moon and was not bumping into a comet which would say goodbye to it soon?

    June 3, 2013 at 12:13 am |
  3. Buck Rogers

    This is indeed the perfect opportunity for NASA to fake an asteroid 'moon' landing. They have been yelping for years about targeting an asteroid, and since this one has a 'moon' (and NASA is good at faking 'moon landings'), then they could kill two birds with one stone. If they fake an asteroid 'moon landing', then they could 'hold off' on going 'back' to our moon for several decades, or at least until the Chinese fake it.......

    June 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • kobe jennings

      Buck Rogers remember me man? i love you!

      June 4, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  4. RMatrix

    Yeah! Finally, some sane people making sane comments! Awesome! And, Awesome! for for this celestial event. How about putting a camera and radio transmitter on these things. Thanks for the comments!

    May 31, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  5. Burl is now saying this will be coming far closer to Earth than once thought. Shouldn't be dangerous but will make for an interesting nighttime view as it passes close to our Southern Hemisphere.

    May 31, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  6. Edna

    Instead of sending people to Mars via Mars One, why don't they make an attempt to go to this asteroid? Once landing on the asteroid, it could then be used for space travel and space exploration. It's moving at high rate of speed. Would be a self propelled mode of space travel.

    May 31, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Amber

      Brilliant idea... Everytime a comet passed we could hitch a ride, and then propel ourselves out from it, when it got to a point that we wanted to travel to. We could over time, on the ones that pass by often build bases on them, couldn't we?

      May 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • ScienceTeacher

        Yes – but comets are made of dust and ice... so bases might not work

        May 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • Judas Priest

        Comets have very long orbital periods. Also, a lot of them are not in the plane of the ecliptic, which is where all the planets (well, except for Pluto) are.
        Might be good for an outbound trip to say the Oort cloud, sit for a while, and catch it again on the next inbound leg.
        However it would be great to say mine them for ice and other volatiles while they're in the region of the inner planets.

        May 31, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Judas Priest

      It's actually been proposed. The facility would have to be self-sustaining, and underground to protect it from radiation. The methods for doing this would be (would have been) worked out on the Moon and hopefully tested for a few years before putting a human settlement on something that would be completely out of touch for months or years at a stretch. It's also exactly what we would need for asteroid mining.
      It's also been proposed to develop a method of propulsion that would change the orbit of an asteroid or similar body, probably minutely over a course of years. This would let us put the asteroid at a LaGrangian point, or into a nice Hohmann ellipse for interplanetary transits. With sufficient development, this same facility could conceivably make fuel, refine metals, and surplus oxygen and water to make it a way station for craft heading to many destinations.
      So, here's hoping that we find oil or terrorists in asteroids to make this a national priority.

      May 31, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  7. Astrologist

    Cool !

    May 31, 2013 at 6:04 am |


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