Asteroid 2005 YU55: Close Call or Long Shot?

Astrologically speaking, Asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass extremely close to the Earth today at about 5:28 CST.  Should we run for cover? Nah.  Although YU55 is close astrologically, it is still pretty far-out.  At 201,000 miles, the closest it is estimated to pass, it would take you nearly three months to drive nonstop in a straight line out to meet it.  And that is if you were driving at 100 miles per hour!

The image was taken on Nov. 7 at 11:45 a.m. PST (2:45 p.m. EST/1945 UTC), when the asteroid was approximately 860,000 miles (1.38 million kilometers) away from Earth. Tracking of the aircraft carrier-sized asteroid began at Goldstone at 9:30 a.m. PDT on Nov. 4 with the 230-foot-wide (70-meter) antenna and lasted about two hours, with an additional four hours of tracking planned each day from Nov. 6 – 10. Credit: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, this isn’t our first rendezvous with YU55:

The asteroid will safely fly past our planet slightly closer than the moon’s orbit on Nov. 8. The last time a space rock this large came as close to Earth was in 1976, although astronomers did not know about the flyby at the time. The next known approach of an asteroid this size will be in 2028.

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Unfortunately, we won’t even be able to see it with the naked eye.  In fact, it will take some pretty powerful telescopes to even see it as it goes by – which NASA Fully intends to do!  This asteroid gives us a terrific opportunity to learn more about the nature of these cosmological marvels and perhaps give us some insight to the early development of Earth!

It will also provide amazing data that could someday be used to send humans out to an asteroid.  Does that sound even further out that Asteroid 2005 YU55?  Believe it or not, NASA is developing and testing the vehicles of tomorrow right now!  Everyday our guests have the opportunity to see history in the making on the NASA Tram tour.

Check out this fascinating glimpse at how such a mission might be carried out:

For more information about the future of Crewed Spaceflight and where it might take us, check out the NEW Discount Tire NASA Tram Tour!  Peek into advanced NASA labs and see the spaceships of tomorrow!