5 Saying Hi to the Neighbors
In mid-October of 2014, our nearby friend Mars is going to be visited by a comet called C/2013 AI, aka (for some reason) Siding Spring. While we’re not sure who the hell thought up the name Siding Spring for this hurtling ball of cosmic ice, we do know that S.S. is going to come within 68,000 miles of the red planet (for perspective, earth’s moon is around 240,000 miles from us). There is very little probability that the comet will strike Mars, but as near misses go, this one is a close call!
4 We Like Those Odds
There is about a one in ten chance that a little asteroid named 2010 RF12 will slam into our atmosphere at some point in the future. Thankfully, that future will be around the turn of the 22nd century, and despite the many close passes 2010 RF12 will make, even if it does “œhit”the planet, it is small enough that it would almost surely burn up in the atmosphere, creating a fine fireworks show and nothing more.
3 The Second Time Around
In the year 2029, an asteroid named 99942 Apophis is going to soar past earth with almost no chance of impact. Whew, what a relief. What’s that you say? What about 2036? Ah yes “¦ in that year, Apophis will come calling a second time, and for a while scientists thought it would actually merit an attempt to change the direction of its travel. So yes, it would have been something like the movies “œArmageddon”and/or “œDeep Impact.”Only more entertaining, probably.
2 A Little Fellah Who Packs a Punch
Asteroid 2013 GM3 is only about 60 feet across, which is not exactly impressive compared to some of the other heavenly bodies flying around out there in space. But 2013 GME is going to pass within fewer than 4,500 miles from our planet’s surface in April of 2026. That’s about as close as it gets in terms of near-earth objects. And guess what? The meteor that exploded over Russia earlier this year injuring thousands? It was smaller than this fellah.
1 The Other QE2
No, we’re not talking about the venerable Queen Elizabeth the Second, the beloved long-reigning queen of the British Empire. We’re talking about an asteroid named 1988 QE2 that is hurtling past Earth just this week! This non-monarch QE2 is just less than 2 miles in diameter (the dinosaur killer was twice that big, for the record) and will be more than 3 million miles away at its closest ““ but in galactic terms, that’s pretty damn close.