It’s small, but could hold a mighty wallop. Asteroid 2012 DA14 has a small chance of colliding with Earth on February 15, 2013.
The rock discovered by Spanish stargazers is 60 meters in length has NASA looking at what options there are to avoid a collision. “We could paint it.” NASA’s David Dunham said. Paint would alter the asteroids ability to reflect sunlight and temperature. That idea could cause more problems upon the asteroids eventual return in 2056.
The projected distance it may miss Earth by in 2013 is a slim 16,700 miles, which doesn’t give NASA enough time to build a spaceship to intercept and divert the spinning rock. Dunham did point out, “The asteroid may split into pieces entering the atmosphere. In this case, most parts of it will never reach the planet’s surface.”
Estimates are that if it did strike the Earth the damage would be similar to the 1908 Tunguska Siberia blast which knocked down trees over a 2,150 square mile area.
The date February 15 is also Galileo’s birthday.