Feeds

Crucial question after asteroid near-miss: How big was rock in Olympic pools?

BBC gets the measure of space boulder 2012 DA14

The next step in data security

The services of Bruce Willis were mercifully not required over the weekend as asteroid 2012 DA14 came to within 27,700km of Earth.

As we reported on Friday, the space rock measures 45 metres across and weighs in at 130,000 metric tonnes, although it fell to the BBC to put that into proper perspective. The corporation described 2012 DA14 as being as "large as an Olympic swimming pool", and even produced a handy graphic to show its bulk in relation to the "approx height of a 1930s semi".

Sadly, despite assurances that a good pair of binoculars would enable trembling mortals to stare in awe at the fly-by, your humble hack failed to eyeball 2012 DA14 as it passed through the constellation of Ursa Major at a tad after 2130 GMT.

Stargazers at Oz's Siding Spring Observatory fared rather better, and produced this image showing exactly what an Olympic-sized swimming pool travelling at around 28,000kmph looks like (animated version here):

Asteroid 2012 DA14 as imaged by the Siding Spring Observatory. Pic: E. Guido/N. Howes/Remanzacco Observatory

Asteroid 2012 DA14 as imaged by the Siding Spring Observatory. Pic credit: E Guido/N Howes/Remanzacco Observatory

So now you know. 2012 DA14 could return for another visit in 2046, but Don Yeomans of NASA's Near-Earth Object office assured "it cannot hit" our planet.

He explained: "Its orbit is now known so accurately that we can project through most of the 21st century. Right now we're looking at the very tiny possibility that it could hit the Earth in 2080, but I suspect that will go away and we'll know we're safe from this asteroid for a long time."

To further calms the nerves of those who've suffered excessive exposure to movies such as Armageddon, NASA clarified that last week's meteorite which slammed into the atmosphere in Chelyabinsk, Russia, was "completely unrelated" to 2012 DA14.

The meteorite has been estimated at 17 metres in size, or 1.884 double-decker buses. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.