Get out the umbrellas, folks. There’s a bunch of celestial matter with an earthbound trajectory. However, there’s no need to freak out just yet. Probably the only inconvenience would be too much asteroid gunk to shovel as you dig up parking lots looking for the bones of deformed tyrants.
Needless to say, there are a few far-out entities headed our way that are almost as thrilling as, let’s say, Vin Diesel’s biceps.
Space Object Number One: A Coronal Mass Ejection
Also known as a CME, a coronal mass ejection is an explosion that happens in the sun’s atmosphere due to magnetic fields creating violent gas bubbles. These explosions will result in solar particles reaching Earth.
However, there’s no need to buy a new pair of expensive sunglasses. You won’t even notice these solar particles unless you’re in the North or South Pole. NASA predicts that there may be some “aurora activity” happening in the sky in those areas.
CME’s have been known to cause geomagnetic storms near Earth that can affect GPS satellites or electrical systems. Therefore, if your TomTom is leading you in the wrong direction to your grandma’s house, it’s definitely due to a CME and not your unrelenting refusal to listen to directions.
Space Object Number Two: Asteroid 2012 DA14
This asteroid seems as if it’s aiming directly towards Earth, but you can breathe a sigh of relief… maybe. The truth is asteroid 2012 DA 14 will barely miss us. Barely.
In fact, asteroid 2012 DA14 will be so close to Earth that it may be within spitting distance from some of the satellites we put up there.
(However, there’s no need to worry if you’re a fan of Hello Kitty. I doubt it will encounter the Hello Kitty Space Balloon that was launched recently by a 13 year-old.)
Don Yeomans, the head of the Near-Earth Object Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, states that there is no chance the asteroid will hit the planet, but “this is a record-setting close approach. Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990’s, we’ve never seen an object this big get so close to Earth.”
So, if you enjoy gazing up at the night sky, keep your eyes out on February 15 to see this spectacle.
(Also, be sure to be on the lookout for Mercury in the early evenings of this month, as the planet will be in retrograde.
Space Object Number Three: More Asteroids
Although we have read about Armageddon-heads wanting to drill on asteroids, the Keck Institute for Space Studies has been researching ways to “… identify, capture and return an entire . . . near-Earth asteroid to a high lunar orbit using technology that is or could be available in this decade…”
So, NASA is basically going to make a giant skyward fishing rod.
I’m feeling a tad skeptical. We all know disaster is bound to happen when human technology interferes with the natural order!
Nonetheless, the study has a fail-safe in case this technology would . . . you know . . . ACCIDENTALLY DROP AN ASTEROID ON EARTH!
“Although the very low strength of a type C asteroid would minimize the likelihood that entry of such a body might inflict damage on Earth’s surface -” (Yeah, that’s what they all say.) “- it would be more prudent to place the retrieved asteroid in an orbit from which, if all else fails, it would only impact the moon…”
Yeah! Take that, Moon! Who needs you?
So what do you think readers? Sound off in comment section below.