"The chances of a big one hitting the Earth are 100 percent, the key question is time frame," Dr Bruce Betts, from the Planetary Society.
WATCH: Orbital path of Asteroid 2005 YU55.
In the following video presentation from Channel 7 / Seven Network in Australia, the origins, orbital path and the threat of the asteroid is discussed. The program also highlights the preparedness of NASA and the usage of a wide variety of radar, visual and infrared observations, including using the radar capabilities at its Deep Space Network facility in Goldstone, California, and the huge Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico.
This Wednesday a 400-metre asteroid that goes by the name of 2005 YU55 will pass between the Earth and the moon in what experts describe a “near miss”. The size of an aircraft carrier, scientists from space agencies around the world are watching this close encounter as their concerns grow over another much bigger asteroid that’s headed our way. The biggest threat to Earth now is an asteroid called Apophis. In 2029 it will pass so close to Earth we’ll be able to see it with the naked eye. What worries astronomers most is Apophis passing through a small corridor in space called a key hole where Earth's gravity would change its orbit sending it on a collision course with us seven years later. "The chances of a big one hitting the Earth are 100 percent, the key question is time frame," Dr Bruce Betts, from the Planetary Society, tells Sunday Night. The clearest reminder of that danger is the imminent arrival of 2005 YU55. It will give NASA a rare and close insight that could shed new light on the objects. "There's no chance of it hitting Earth. It's an excellent opportunity for astronomers to get a good look at the object to generate a shape for this object," Don Yeomans, head of NASA’s JPL Spaceguard program, says.WATCH: Seven Network's "YU55 Collision Course."
Last month Yeomans and his team of asteroid trackers calculated there were nearly 20 thousand near Earth asteroids, some one kilometre in size. “An impact of a large asteroid has the capability of taking out our civilization and not many worries and threats can make that claim so it is worth some effort," he said. In the Catalina mountains north of Tuscon Arizona, Catalina Sky Survey's Ed Beshore tracks comets and asteroids for NASA using telescopes in the US and in Australia. He says it’s “entirely possible” for an asteroid to hit Earth and the worst case scenario is the situation where you could find one a day before it gets here. “Actually we did that we found an object in 2006 that we discovered and it actually hit the Earth the next day, fortunately it was only three metres in size, the size of a car, so it came in over the Sudan desert." Dr Tom Jones is a former NASA astronaut, he's urging experts to "learn to talk to each other" to avoid a doomsday asteroid. "We should have a book on the shelf that tells us procedures for deciding when to deflect an asteroid, how it's going to be done, how much it costs, what kind of space craft has to be built and then the world can then pull that plan off the shelf if it's necessary." "We can actually put our technology to use and stop a catasptrophe from happening in the future and it’s the only natural catastrophe that we know how to stop." Betts added: "One way of knocking an asteroid off its orbit and making it miss the Earth would be to slam into it with a hyper-velocity big space craft at tens kilometres a second." - Yahoo Australia.