WATCH NASA FLYBY VIDEO: Asteroid to Miss Earth by 17,200 Miles
The 2012 DA14 asteroid will miss Earth by '15 minutes,' according to TV scientist Bill Nye. Meanwhile, the meteor that injured hundreds of Russians was nearly 7,000 miles from Fridley.
Fridley has had its share of disaster days, mainly tornadoes:
- May 22, 2011 "North Minneapolis Tornado" (it hit Fridley too!)
- July 18, 1986 Springbrook Nature Center Tornado (see YouTube videos)
- May 6, 1965 Fridley Tornado
But Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, not going to be one of those disastrous days. Fridley is thousands of miles away from the surprise meteor that struck in Russia and the much-anticipated, near-miss DA14 asteroid.
On Friday, asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass within 17,200 miles—or 15 minutes—of Earth, according to TV scientist Bill Nye (click first YouTube thumbnail).
A separate meteor entering the Earth's atmosphere over Russia early Friday sent shockwaves that injured more than 900 people in the Ural Mountains area, the Star Tribune reported. The biggest city in the region, Chelyabinsk, is 6,822 miles from Fridley (click second YouTube thumbnail).
The asteroid is half the size of the Bob O'Neill Field at Fridley High School, according to a BBC diagram. Nye said it is comparable in size to the one responsible for the 1908 Tunguska event, but is expected to pass harmlessly by, Nye said it is a very close shave relatively speaking.
"This one will miss us by about 15 minutes," Nye explained. "Fifteen minutes difference and that's it."
If it were not for those 15 minutes, life for millions of people could end.
"If such a meteor were to hit Atlanta or New York City or Boston, that would be it for those municipalities," Nye said. As much as 1,200 square miles would be destroyed, Nye added.
According to Nye, there are approximately 100,000 "Earth-crossing" asteroids and, for the first time in human history, the possibility exists that something could be done should one threaten Earth.
"It is something that we as humans all over the world ought to get involved in," he said.
NASA Television will provide commentary from Pasadena-based JPL starting at 11 a.m. Friday during the asteroid’s nearby flight and the half-hour broadcast will also include live or near real-time views of the asteroid from Australia observatories, weather permitting, JPL noted.
Watch the Asteroid Via NASA
Near real-time imagery of the asteroid's flyby in Australia and Europe, weather permitting, will be streamed beginning at about 11 a.m. CST and continuing through the afternoon.
Or watch a feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama starting at 4 p.m. CST.
Researchers at NASA and elsewhere will be using the flyby as a chance to study a near-Earth object up close in an effort to understand our solar system’s origins, among other things, NASA noted.