Blogcritics readers will be pleased to know that asteroid 2005 YU55 will be whizzing by on Tuesday afternoon at exactly 6:28 PM Eastern time. This asteroid is well known to the scientific community, and they all concur there is no chance whatever of an impact with the Earth. 2005 YU55 is about a quarter of a mile across, at 1,312 feet, or 400 meters, in diameter. Scientists do mention that if the huge rock were to impact our planet, the resulting crater would be four miles across and 1,700 feet deep. The shock would be roughly 4000 megatons, several times more that the most powerful H-bomb, and could wipe out a city the size of New York or London. It would produce the equivalent of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, and in the event that it struck in the ocean, 70 foot high tsunami waves.
The asteroid, which scientists look forward to studying as it flies by, will be 15 percent closer to us than is the moon, at a distance of 202,000 miles; It will be about 150,000 miles from the moon at the time of the closest approach. As mentioned, astronomers are 100 percent confident that we are not threatened. This information comes from Don Yeomans, the manager of NASA's Near Earth Object Program. He goes on to say that scientists have been tracking the “slowly spinning, spherical, dark-colored object” since its discovery in 2005, and are positive it won't do any damage. Jay Melosh at Purdue says “Both the Earth and the moon are safe; this time.” Scientists will observe the asteroid from California, and Puerto Rico on radar, checking to see if the object is pockmarked with craters, or whether it has water, frozen water, or water bearing minerals.