Bus-size as­ter­oid to zoom by Earth, duck­ing below satel­lites

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - CANADA & WORLD - MAR­CIA DUNN

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. — An as­ter­oid the size of a school bus is headed our way, but NASA says the space rock will zoom safely past Earth on Thurs­day.

The newly dis­cov­ered as­ter­oid will come within 22,000 kilo­me­tres of Earth, well below many of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lites or­bit­ing the planet, sci­en­tists said. The clos­est ap­proach will oc­cur Thurs­day morn­ing over the south­east­ern Pa­cific Ocean. It won’t be back near Earth un­til 2041.

Sci­en­tists es­ti­mate the as­ter­oid is be­tween 4.5 me­tres and nine me­tres. By as­ter­oid stan­dards, that’s con­sid­ered puny. As­ter­oids of this size hit Earth’s at­mos­phere and burn up once ev­ery year or two, said Paul Cho­das, di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Near-earth Ob­ject Stud­ies at NASA’S Jet Propul­sion Lab­o­ra­tory.

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