What Would Happen if Asteroid 2012 DA14 Hit Earth?

There is absolutely no chance that asteroid 2012 DA14 will hit Earth when it makes its closest approach on Friday (Feb. 15), but many other asteroids like it have made a crash landing on the planet in the past.

Although the 150-foot (45 meters) space rock is nowhere near as large as the asteroid thought thought to have killed off the dinosaurs — that behemoth was likely about 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide — it could still cause some serious damage, experts say.

“The asteroid is about 150 feet in diameter and has a mass estimated at about 143,000 tons,” NASA astronomer Don Yeomans wrote in a Feb. 9 opinion piece for The New York Times. “Should an object of that size hit Earth, it would cause a blast with the energy equivalent of about 2.4 million tons — or 2.4 megatons — of TNT explosives, more than 180 times the power of the atomic blast that leveled Hiroshima.”….

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

See also Everything You Need to Know for Earth Flyby Friday

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