NASA '100 percent sure' asteroid won't hit Earth

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November 8, 2011, 4:34 pm
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(NECN/CNN: Ralitsa Vassileva) - An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will pass within 202,000 miles of our planet Tuesday night. The event has people talking, but experts say there is no danger.

Tuesday's close encounter with an asteroid brings flashbacks of the movie "Armageddon." The course of the 2005 yu-55 asteroid brings it slightly closer to our planet than the moon. That's the closest encounter the earth has had with a space rock in three decades. But there’s no need to panic. NASA says the 400-meter wide asteroid is not on a collision course with our planet.

“Absolutely, we're 100 percent sure that it's not going to hit us,” said Marina Brozovic of NASA Near Earth Object Office.

But if one did crash into earth, experts say it could wipe out an entire country. Or if it fell into the ocean, it could cause a 70-foot high tsunami. So scientists say we need to be prepared even though the chances of a collision are rare.

“I don't think we need to panic because these things happen on huge geologic time scales, frequencies, probably once every few hundred thousand years but there's no guarantee it won't happen in the next ten, twenty, thirty years,” said Kevin Yates  of Near Earth Objects Information Center.

While scientists say an asteroid hitting earth is not an out-of-this-world scenario, blowing up a space rock with nuclear weapons is pure science fiction. Real scientists say giving it a push is better than a blast.

The best view of the asteroid with a telescope will be from the East Coast.

Tags: cnn, NASA, asteroid, ralitsa vassileva, yu-55, armageddon
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